Russian anti-terrorism agency boss, Colonel General Andrei Novikov, has said between 200 and 5000 Russians are among Islamic State (IS) fighters.
Speaking to journalists on Wednesday, June 17, he said authorities confirmed that a minimum of around Russian passport holders have joined the extremist group in Iraq and Syria.
Several towns in southern Russia, who are mostly Muslim regions at the edge of the Caucasus Mountains, have been deal with a boiling Islamist uprising for many years.
Several of the Emirate’s members were shown in a videos late last year declaring allegiance to the Islamic State around the time of a terrorist attack in Chechnya that the group took credit for.
The Caucasus rebels, battle-hardened by two separatist wars with Russia, are rumored to be some of the Islamic State’s most successful fighters.
Red-bearded Caucasus rebel, Tarkhan Batirashvili, whose combat name is Omar al-Shishani, is believed to be an IS commander in Syria, with a series of decisive victories attributed to him.
Novikov warned that the IS might have obtained nuclear material capable of making a bomb that would cause “worldwide panic.”
However, he did not say how the material could have been obtained.
The IS said in May in its online propaganda magazine, Dabiq, that it could buy a nuclear weapon from the predominantly Muslim nation of Pakistan.
It added that IS allegedly helped North Korea obtain atomic arms in the 1990s.