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Russian intelligence officer killed, shooter ‘neutralized’ in Moscow ‘act of terrorism’

Lubyanka Square in Moscow (A.Savin/WikiCommons)

This article was originally published by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and is reprinted with permission.

Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) said one of its members was killed by an unidentified shooter who opened fire near its headquarters in central Moscow on December 19.

“One FSB officer was killed in a shootout in central Moscow,” an FSB official told Russian media after the service said earlier that the gunman had been “neutralized” and confirmed an unspecified number of casualties.

“An unknown individual opened fire near building number 12 on Bolshaya Lubyanka Street, there are casualties. The identity of the criminal is being established. The criminal has been neutralized,” agencies quoted the FSB as saying.

It was unclear whether the gunman had been killed or detained.

A spokesman for Russia’s Health Ministry meanwhile was quoted by news agencies as saying that two FSB officers “received very serious wounds.”

Crowds could be seen in video posted online fleeing the central Lubyanka Square, where the building is located, amid the sound of gunfire.

The FSB denied earlier reports that the attack had been perpetrated by three assailants.

“The perpetrator acted alone,” the FSB said.

The incident that came on the eve of the Day of Russia’s Security Services, celebrated on December 20.

The RT television channel reported on social media that Russian intelligence services described the shooting as “an act of terrorism.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed about the incident, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told TASS news agency.

Putin on December 19 also delivered a speech marking the Russian security-service workers’ day, saying that at least 54-terror related crimes had been thwarted in Russia in 2019, including 33 attacks.

The FSB is the main successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB.

State media reported that all civilian traffic was being diverted from the area.