Deadly Coordinated Shootings in Dagestan Highlight Rising Islamist Threat Amid Russia’s Ukraine Focus


LONDON, June 25 (Reuters) – While Russia’s attention remains fixed on its conflict in Ukraine, deadly shootings in Dagestan have underscored the growing menace of Islamist extremism, potentially diverting resources from Moscow’s primary military efforts.

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At least 20 people were killed in a series of coordinated attacks on Sunday evening in southern Russia, where militants targeted police and religious sites, including a synagogue.

The violence has prompted scrutiny of Russia’s intelligence and security preparedness, which some critics argue were caught off guard amid heightened focus on Ukraine.

“Radical Islamism is resurfacing in Russia,” noted Sergei Markov, a former Kremlin adviser, who recently returned from the North Caucasus region. “It’s a serious problem that demands decisive action from authorities.”

The attackers, reportedly linked to local officials and a pro-Kremlin party, have raised concerns about infiltration within the region’s elite circles. The incidents in Derbent and Makhachkala have not only claimed lives but also challenged President Vladimir Putin’s assurances of domestic stability.

Makhachkala, the regional capital, has tightened security measures with increased patrols and checkpoints following the attacks. The events may also prompt Moscow to reconsider governance in Dagestan, a predominantly Muslim region grappling with economic challenges and sporadic violence.

“Russia’s military presence in Dagestan, strategically vital due to its naval base for the Caspian Flotilla, underscores its importance,” explained Riccardo Valle, Director of Research at The Khorasan Diary. He highlighted how jihadist groups perceive Russia’s Ukraine engagement as an opportunity to exploit security gaps and orchestrate attacks.

Despite these setbacks, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov downplayed fears of a resurgence akin to the turbulent 1990s and early 2000s, emphasizing societal cohesion against terrorism. However, analysts caution that the Ukraine conflict has strained international counter-terrorism efforts, potentially emboldening extremist activities across Russia.

As investigations into the Dagestan shootings unfold, President Putin remains engaged, issuing directives while acknowledging the broader security challenges facing Russia amidst its military operations abroad.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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