MINSK, 10 March (BelTA) – A cache with a large amount of explosives has recently been found in Belarus, State Security Committee (KGB) Chairman Ivan Tertel said on the air of the Belarus 1 TV channel, BelTA informs.
According to Ivan Tertel, special services detained in Belarus an organized group who was preparing terrorist attacks in the country. The head of the special service noted that these people were professionally trained, including in countries where armed conflicts are taking place.
In the course of the investigation, law enforcement found caches with a large amount of explosives. “There were tens of kilograms of TNT, a large amount of plastic explosives, explosive devices, special-purpose weapons intended for reconnaissance and sabotage, devices enabling remote explosions. We will show all this and people will see that such threats exist, unfortunately,” Ivan Tertel said.
Criminal cases have already been initiated. In total, the State Security Committee is investigating six such crimes. The Investigative Committee is also dealing with similar cases.
According to the KGB chief, in recent years Belarus has not experienced any terrorist attacks that would make headlines. At the same time, there were cases of transit terrorism. These issues were addressed in close cooperation with intelligence services of Russia, the EU countries, the United States of America.
“In recent months we have seen a sharp rise in terrorist threats against our state. They come from the territory of our neighboring states,” Ivan Tertel said.
According to him, members of terrorist groups were in Western Europe, Poland and Ukraine where they were provided with weapons and special-purpose equipment. That was a group of anarchists led by Igor Olinevich, and a terrorist group of Nikolai Avtukhovich. Their activities have already been suppressed.
Ivan Tertel informed that these people were planning attacks on government agencies and officials. There were also plans to attack large groups of people. “We have reliable information about plans of other people, too. They also come from the territory of foreign states, some of these persons cooperate with foreign special services. These people are well-trained, they pursue their own goals,” he added.
The KGB chairman noted that sometimes partners, perhaps, turn a blind eye to such facts, although terrorist threats as such are a dangerous phenomenon that can affect the entire region. As an example, he mentioned Ukraine which foreign ministry strongly responds to the situation. “We sent inquiries about the Olinevich and Avtukhovich groups. These inquiries were supplemented by evidence, phone numbers, and the names of the persons involved. We have not received any responses yet. They just sent a formal reply concerning one member of the Olinevich group. In this reply they said that we failed to observe some formalities while submitting the inquiry. This is contrary to the spirit of partnership with Ukraine and we believe this poses a threat to our state in the future,” Ivan Tertel noted.
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko mentioned the uncovering of the new group armed with TNT and plastic explosives while visiting Motovelo Plant on 5 March. “It is not [Nikolai] Avtukhovich's group. These are new people. It is good they have been locked up. They had lots of weapons. What for?” the president asked.
During the Belarusian People's Congress KGB Chairman Ivan Tertel talked about the suppression of operation of terrorist groups in Belarus: “Some think that they will be able to shake up the country by shedding blood of ordinary people whose interests they use as a cover. The operation of terrorist cells led by Avtukhovich and Olinevich is a case in point.”
In his words, members of these terrorist groups blew up and set on fire facilities of government agencies in Minsk Oblast, Grodno Oblast, and Gomel Oblast. They destroyed property owned by law enforcement and security officers. They set up caches with weapons and explosive devices near Minsk. The terrorist cells appeared virtually all over the country. Plans were made to take direct action against law enforcement officers and civil servants, the KGB chairman said. Ivan Tertel believes that mass casualties were prevented only because these cells were stopped in time.
Back then Ivan Tertel noted that according to the available data there are other terrorists at large. “We have reliable information about intentions of other people to commit acts of terroristic nature in the territory of our country. Let me stress it: they are ready for anything, they are ready to commit any crimes and have pity on neither women nor children,” the official said in his speech during the Belarusian People's Congress. The KGB is aware of plans of these people, including plans to find people to commit these acts, plans concerning their targets, including the country's leadership and members of their families, the criminal schemes in development, and sources of finance.