Fake bomb threats prompt mass evacuations in Moscow area

People walk in Red Square during heavy snowfall in Moscow, Jan 27, 2019.
People walk in Red Square during heavy snowfall in Moscow, Jan 27, 2019.PHOTO: REUTERS

MOSCOW (AFP) - Thousands of school children, office workers and shoppers were evacuated from over 100 buildings in and around Moscow on Tuesday (Feb 5), reports said, in the latest wave of fake bomb threats to hit Russia.

Last week, 55 buildings were evacuated in Russia's second city Saint Petersburg and several other cities like Krasnoyarsk in Siberia and Volgograd in the south were forced to act after receiving similar threats.

Tuesday's alerts prompted the evacuation of some 20,000 people as authorities conducted sweeps, only to find nothing, news agencies reported, citing the emergency services.

The false alarms targeted more than 90 buildings in Moscow and over 40 in the region of the capital, the Tass state news agency reported, citing an emergency services source.

Many of the warnings were sent by email and had very similar wording, Russian media reports said.

Outside the Russian State University of the Humanities in central Moscow, hundreds of students had gathered, with the university saying it had cancelled all classes for the day due to a mass evacuation.