MOSCOW, May 30 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) has detained a group of Ukrainian radicals from the far-right Right Sector movement implicated in attempted terrorist attacks in Crimea’s Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol, the agency said Friday.
“The investigation department of Russia’s FSB has opened a criminal probe against [members of Right Sector] … who have prepared as part of a terrorist organization for the perpetration of a terrorist attack and explosions on the night of May 8 … in Simferopol [in Crimea],” the FSB press office said.
Searches of the homes of the detained extremists' accomplices yielded explosives, firearms, ammunition, and gas masks, according to the Vzglyad newspaper. The FSB said the four admitted the plot was aimed at destabilizing the political situation on the peninsula ahead of the independence referendum.
Crimea, previously an autonomous republic within Ukraine, refused to recognize the legitimacy of the coup-imposed government in Kiev that came to power following the February overthrow of President Yanukovych and voted to secede. On March 16, Crimea held a referendum which saw over 96 percent of voters in the region back the motion to leave Ukraine for Russia.
In March, an unknown sniper opened fire at people in Crimea’s capital Simferopol in an incident that republic’s Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov said was aimed at fanning fear in the region.