MOSCOW (AP) — A spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday said that hundreds of bomb threats made by anonymous telephone callers against major public buildings in Russia this week amount to "telephone terrorism" as authorities appear no closer to identifying the perpetrators.
"All necessary measures are being taken," Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He refused to comment on theories about why the calls were being made.
State-owned television channels — how most Russians get their news — have aired little coverage about the threats. There have been no official statements by security service officials investigating them.
Since the weekend, over 100,000 people have been caught up in evacuations that have taken place in cities across Russia, from the Far East and Siberia to Moscow. Threats have been made against schools, hospitals, hotels, shopping centers, airports, railways stations and universities.
Dozens of buildings in Moscow and St. Petersburg were evacuated Thursday, including a large toy shop located next to the headquarters of the FSB, Russia's domestic security services. A total of about 20,000 people were rushed out of threatened buildings Thursday, according to the RIA Novosti news agency.
Citing law enforcement officials, Russian media outlets have reported a variety of explanations for the hoaxes, including that they were carried out by members of the Islamic State group, that the telephone calls originated from neighboring Ukraine and that it was an official exercise. No evidence has been produced to support any theory.