The Kremlin-backed head of Russia's Chechnya region, Ramzan Kadyrov, says there is no need to worry that militants fighting for the Islamic State (IS) group will join insurgents in the North Caucasus.
"There is no such threat," the Interfax news agency quoted Kadyrov as saying in an interview on January 4.
"We should not be frightening oursleves with various ISISes," he added, using another acronym for the militant group that has become the target of a U.S.-led coalition after seizing territory in Iraq and Syria in a brutal offensive this year.
"We have a good network of agents within these terrorist [groups] that enables us to monitor the movements of those who are of interest to us," Kadyrov said.
Seeming to contradict his own suggestion that IS militants present little threat to Russia, however, he said: "The fact that the United States and Western countries have turned the Middle East into a giant staging area for terrorist training presents a threat to Russia and the entire world."