Aleksandr Bortnikov, head of Russia’s Federal Security Service, told a national security conference in Moscow that terrorist leaders were “changing tactics” as they faced defeat in former strongholds in Syria and Iraq.
The government-funded broadcaster RT reported Mr Bortnikov as saying the UN was “the best platform” to build an effective anti-terrorist front in the face of the new threat.
Mr Bortnikov said: “We’re talking about development of a new large-scale terrorist network.
“There are also reports of ongoing negotiations between Islamic State and other [terrorist] groups about a possible merger.”
The security chief said terrorist groups were being ‘threatened with total destruction in the zone of their former domination” and had therefore stepped up the transfer of militants into Afghanistan, Yemen and Africa, where new bases were being built.
He said militants were being “ideologically tested” in combat zones in order to obtain contacts and fighting skills before travelling to other countries ‘that were not previously exposed to the terrorist threat’.
He said: “These terrorists’ activities become more sophisticated, their propaganda is more aggressive, the goals of attacks and ways of their fulfillment more diverse.”
The Russian Security Conference, held annually since 2011, is taking place amidst heightened tensions between Moscow and the rest of the Western world.
Russia has been urged to end its support for Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who is believed to have ordered a chemical attack on the rebel-held town of Khan Sheikhoun last month, killing 86 people.
The US responded to the attack by bombing a Syrian government-held airbase, a move Russian president Vladimir Putin warned would have “serious consequences” if repeated.
NATO declined an invitation to attend the conference.
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