Intelligence Service chief says international terrorism is Russia's major adversary

Sergei Lebedev, Director of Russia's Foreign Intelligence Service, or SVR, believes Russia's major adversary for the moment is international terrorism and other global threats, rather than any particular country. "Today, we are not talking about any particular country as our main adversary, Mr Lebedev said in an interview with the Rossiiskaya Gazeta newspaper. We are on the alert for the threats Russia is facing or may face." Yet, if a threat emerges in a certain country, Russia cannot view it as a friendly country, said Mr Lebedev.

The major menaces of the modern day, according to him, are international terrorism, organised crime, and drug traffic. "The proliferation of mass destruction weapons is yet another challenge, since one day they may well be obtained by maniacs." Mr Lebedev also pointed to environmental security as yet another burning problem.

"None of the countries, even the powerful United States, cannot counter those challenges on its own," emphasised Mr Lebedev.

The SVR chief said the security services had revealed links between international terrorist organisations and Chechen militants. When dwelling on a recent hostage siege in a Moscow theatre, Mr Lebedev said the intelligence service taped the terrorists' telephone talks with somebody in Turkey and Persian Gulf countries.

Unfortunately the Chechen extremists maintain not solely telephone contacts with international terrorist organisations, noted Mr Lebedev. They are getting money, arms and mercenaries. "We do co-operate with foreign colleagues in sealing the channels through which they are supplied with above. For the moment, however, we are not 100 percent satisfied /with the results/. We will be fully satisfied when those channels have been sealed completely," pointed out Sergei Lebedev.

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