Russia’s Kommersant newspaper cited unnamed security sources on Thursday as saying a group of men Russia has arrested for planning attacks in Crimea had confessed and said their aim was to destroy the tourist industry there.
Vladimir Putin accused Ukraine on Wednesday of using terrorist tactics to try to provoke a new conflict and destabilise annexed Crimea after Russia said it had thwarted two armed Ukrainian attempts to get saboteurs into the contested peninsula.
Ukraine denies Russia’s assertions, saying they are a ruse to stir up tensions with Kiev, which lost control of Crimea in 2014 when Russian forces annexed the peninsula.
The sources told Kommersant that two of seven saboteurs in one group had been killed and five captured. Most of them were Crimea residents and some had Russian passports, they said.
The newspaper said the arrested men had confessed to planning a series of bombings at Crimean tourist resorts and said their objective had been to spread panic to destroy the tourist industry and not to kill anyone.