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Bomb Threats Prompt Evacuations In Rostov-On-Don; No Explosives Found

Policemen stand guard around a hotel in Rostov-on-Don, a Russian World Cup host city.
Policemen stand guard around a hotel in Rostov-on-Don, a Russian World Cup host city.

Russian police early on June 27 said they received multiple bomb threats in the World Cup host city of Rostov-on-Don, prompting the evacuation of bars and restaurants across the city, but no explosives were found.

"On June 26, police received a series of phone calls about explosives planted at locations in Rostov-on-Don," local police said in a statement.

"Police forces made all the necessary checks and no dangerous objects were found," the statement said. "Currently, all the venues are operating normally."

A policeman at the Topos Congress-Hotel in Rostov-on-Don, which was evacuated in the wee hours of the morning on June 27, said 16 venues had been evacuated across the city.

On the other side of the city, a manager at the Luciano Italian restaurant said staff had been told to evacuate the building for around two hours after receiving a bomb threat in an anonymous phone call.

As Russia's ties with the West have soured, Moscow's leaders have wanted the World Cup games, which are watched by millions of people around the world, to project an image of stability and strength.

Authorities also adopted tight security in an effort to ensure the safety of the thousands of foreign fans attending the events.

But Rostov-on-Don's location within 60 kilometers of the eastern Ukraine conflict zone between government forces and Russia-backed separatists, where more than 10,300 people have been killed since 2014, had caused security concerns ahead of the tournament.

So far, the city has hosted four World Cup matches. The next scheduled match there is on July 2.

Police provided no information about who might have been behind the bomb threats, which they said proved to be false.

Witnesses said police at the Topos Congress-Hotel treated the bomb threat seriously, evacuating some 200 hotel visitors and sending in bomb-sniffing dogs.

Security services were seen questioning people on the street outside the hotel, next to emergency vehicles and a crowd of around 60 evacuated guests.

Russia experienced a wave of hoax bomb threats last summer, causing disruptions at businesses and public buildings in towns and cities across the country.

The Russian Federal Security Service said in October it had identified four Russian citizens behind the hoax campaign, who were living abroad and using Internet phone services to call in the threats anonymously.

With reporting by Reuters, Daily Express, and RT
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