Chechens who allegedly were hoping to kill Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin planned to hide landmines along a route his motorcade often uses in Moscow, according to Russian TV, the BBC reports.
Word of the alleged plot, which was supposedly going to be carried out after Sunday’s presidential vote (which Putin is heavily favored to win), broke earlier today. Ukrainian and Russian secret services claim to have broken up the plan. Reports vary on whether there are two or three suspects in custody.
Russia’s RT.com, which has been reporting on the story and monitoring other Russian news outlets, writes that “Russia’s most-wanted terrorist Doku Umarov is thought to be behind the plot.” He remains at large.
As NPR.org has previously reported, Umarov, often referred to as a Chechen warlord, “has long been a high-profile enemy of …. Putin and a powerful symbol of failures in Russia’s security policy. … Umarov has called Russian leaders ‘racist’ and vowed to create an independent Islamic state in Russia’s south. He also voiced solidarity with Islamist militants in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan.
The Associated Press reminds us that:
“Umarov claimed responsibility for a January 2011 suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo airport, which killed 37 and injured more than 180, warning that many more such attacks would follow if Russia did not allow the Caucasus to become an independent Islamic state governed by Sharia law.
“Umarov also has claimed responsibility for an array of other terror attacks in the past, including the double suicide bombing of the Moscow subway system in March 2010 that killed 40 people. He is seen more as an ideological than a military figure, as many militant cells operate autonomously and shun centralized command.”