Moscow on lockdown after multiple bomb threats

More than 10,000 people were evacuated from shopping centres, railway stations and universities in Moscow on Wednesday, following "almost simultaneous" warnings that they had been rigged with explosives, RT online reported.

Most searches in Moscow's buildings targeted by bomb alerts have proved the calls were hoaxes, a source with the capital's emergencies services told TASS on Wednesday.

By Tuesday, the anonymous threats were reported in Perm, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and other cities, forcing the evacuation of an estimated 45,000 people.

The anonymous calls came from Internet dialling systems and could not be easily traced, official news agencies reported. Three more Siberian cities evacuated shopping malls, government offices, schools and hospitals.

Several universities and hotels were reportedly evacuated as well.

Largely, bomb threat calls were about Moscow's major shopping malls and Russian capital's three largest train stations - Leningradsky, Kazansky and Kievsky.

"Each call is being checked". Social media accounts show bemused crowds milling passively outside evacuated buildings, and there have been no reports of disturbances of public order.

Sniffers dogs are searching the areas to confirm if there is any truth to the threats made.

"There is reason to assume this was all organised overseas", an official in Chelyabinsk, a city in south- west Russian Federation, told Interfax news agency.

Russian Federation has been hit by militant attacks, including a bombing on the St Petersburg metro in April in which 16 people died.

  • Tracy Klein