Security officials have detained two members of a radical youth group in a Siberian city on suspicion of planning a series of terrorist attacks, a newspaper reported Tuesday.
Nikolai Baluyev and Vyacheslav Rusakov, members of the National Bolshevik Party, were detained after security officers found several caches of weapons in the city and the suburbs of Novosibirsk, about 2,800 kilometers (1,750 miles) east of Moscow. The arms are believed to belong to the two suspects, the Kommersant daily quoted Viktor Denisov, a spokesman for the regional branch of the Federal Security Service, as saying. A search at the suspects' flats yielded several kilograms (pounds) of explosives, Denisov said.
Denisov said there was "strong evidence that the members of the NBP were preparing attacks aimed at frightening (people), using homemade explosive devices and military explosives."
The party's executive committee issued a statement on Tuesday saying the two suspects were no longer members of the group. Baluyev had been expelled, while Rusakov had quit the party, Kommersant said.
Group leader Eduard Limonov, however, dismissed the arrest as a "provocation" and claimed that the case had been fabricated.
"Here (in Russia) anything is labeled terrorism, it's the favorite fantasy of the FSB," Kommersant quoted him as saying. "We have never pricked anyone with a pin, have never left a bruise."
The Novosibirsk branch of the National Bolsheviks is accused of participating in several protest actions, including throwing eggs at a NATO official in 2003.
The group is famous for staging numerous anti-government protests throughout the country, including a recent break-in at the Health Ministry and a presidential administration building in Moscow, but the party is not known to resort to violence.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel had had a few fights and used strong language because of the Ukrainian crisis in 2014