Schools, government buildings and shopping malls in more than a dozen Russian cities continue to be evacuated four days after local authorities started receiving anonymous bomb threats, the Interfax news agency reported Wednesday.
All alerts have proved to be hoaxes and the authorities have urged the public to stay calm, the BBC said yesterday.
A source in the emergency services told state-run TASS news agency that over 30 prominent locations including the famed GUM shopping centre on Red Square were temporarily emptied after anonymous telephone threats.
By Tuesday, the anonymous threats were reported in Perm, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and other cities, forcing the evacuation of an estimated 45,000 people. Also, students and teaching staff were evacuated from the Sechenov Medical University and MGIMO International Relations University.
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Emergency services said that specialist units and officers with sniffer dogs were examining the buildings.
The Interior Ministry and Security Council declined to comment.
Numerous bomb threat calls came from Ukraine, according the news agency RIA.
Largely, bomb threat calls were about Moscow's major shopping malls and Russian capital's three largest train stations - Leningradsky, Kazansky and Kievsky.
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Initial reports indicated that the evacuations might have been some kind of exercise.
According to reports, those responsible for the threats were still not located.
RIA cited its source as saying that numerous hoax calls may have been made from Ukraine.
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