Anti-terror forces strengthen World Cup security ahead of England vs. Belgium match
On the eve of a critical match for England and Belgium, anti-terror police in Russia have reportedly launched a major operation to heighten the World Cup security in Kaliningrad.
The sports minister, Natalia Ishchenko, admitted 'special attention' was being paid to the fan safety in Russia after the threat of a potential terror attack in the host city of Kaliningrad.
Armed police have been deployed across the city and Kaliningrad’s Central Square has been sealed by concrete barricades and strategically-positioned trucks to protect football fans from potential ramming attacks. Up to 15,000 fans are expected to gather in the fan zone for the England vs. Belgium game on Thursday 28th June.
It is also reported that elite Spetsnaz units conducted a training exercise during which military personnel parachuted into the ground to deal with a hostage scenario. The strengthened World Cup security has came after Russian authorities claim that they have uncovered “credible threats” on the internet. They assure fans in Russia that they are taking no risks, implementing the highest level of World Cup security on show during the 2018 event so far.
Intelligence Fusion has closely monitored security alerts and risks to fan safety in Russia since the tournament began on 14th June, the same day that the Islamic State released images calling for lone wolf attacks during the Russia World Cup.
The IF Team also reported a taxi colliding with 12 people, including Mexican football fans, in Central Moscow on Saturday 16th June. The incident, which saw the vehicle only stop when it hit a signpost and the driver attempting to flee the scene, was not categorised as a terrorist attack. The Russian home secretary told the press that the driver lost control of the car.
On Tuesday 26th June, a series of hoax bomb threats in Rostov-on-Don triggered evacuations at multiple venues across the city. World Cup security forces stated that “the police made all the necessary checks and no dangerous objects were found".
Russia’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War is suspected to be an aggravator for terrorist threats and potential attacks during the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
If you’re currently in Russia or due to travel for the England vs. Belgium match, download our FREE Quick Guide for Travellers to the 2018 FIFA Russia World Cup that includes a complete rundown of the current situation and possible dangers as well as providing advice and guidance on how to remain vigilant and manage risk when travelling to and around Russia for the World Cup tournament.