The Jakarta Post
Following an international outpouring of grief and solidarity for Russia over Monday’s terror attack in St. Petersburg, a top Russian diplomat has said that the Kremlin hoped to deepen its bilateral relations with Indonesia on joint counterterror activities.
Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Mikhail Y. Galuzin said he was certain that counterterrorism cooperation between the two countries would continue, especially as Jakarta had expressed its solidarity in the aftermath of the incident he called “barbaric and brutal.”
“This is why I mentioned our appreciation of the statement of the Indonesian government for condemning terrorism and expressing solidarity with Russia,” he said during an impromptu press briefing at the ambassador’s residence in Jakarta on Wednesday.
“It also means that the Indonesian government is ready to further cooperate with Russia against international terrorism.”
Galuzin cited the two countries’ fruitful consultations in the field of cyber security last year, which focused on the increased use of the Internet and social media in propagating extremist views and facilitating terrorism.
At the time, former top security minister Luhut Pandjaitan and Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev agreed to engage in capacity-building in cyber security and the sharing of information.
The envoy also stressed the importance of strengthening coordination between countries in the fight against terrorism, as he reminded reporters that the scourge of international terror was not linked to any culture, religion or ethnicity.
Monday’s bombing of a metro station in St. Petersburg killed 14 people and wounded around 50 more, according to Galuzin, and inflicted a personal blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who was visiting his native city as the attack unfolded.
Associated Press has reported that six people have been arrested on suspicion of recruiting terrorists.
The Investigative Committee said on Wednesday that those arrested came from Central Asian countries that once were part of the Soviet Union. Officials have said the suicide attacker was a native of the Central Asian country of Kyrgyzstan, identified as 22-yearold Akbardzhon Dhzalilov.
Meanwhile, the Indonesian government has since condemned the April 3 terror attack, conveying deep condolences to the victims and families of the deceased, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
The Russian envoy also noted that six men from Central Asia were being held by the Russian police on Wednesday in connection to the terror attack.
Meanwhile, an official of the Indonesian Embassy in Moscow confirmed there was no indication that any Indonesians were being interrogated by local authorities for any possible involvement in the terrorist attack.
“All 119 Indonesians in St. Petersburg are safe, and none of them have undergone interrogation by Russian authorities seeking links to the bomb incident,” said Nanang Fadillah, the Embassy’s secretary for sociocultural affairs, on Wednesday.
The Embassy is in continuous contact with Indonesian community leaders and students in Russia, and has asked that they remain vigilant, avoid potential target areas and comply with security rules enforced by the local authorities, the statement said.
A spokesperson from the Indonesian Students Association in Russia (PERMIRA) in St. Petersburg, Jeff Kalengkongan, issued a statement reassuring worried parents and guardians of students in Russia that the Indonesian community in Russia is safe.
According to the association, there are 95 Indonesian students currently studying in Russia across 8 higher education institutions in St. Petersburg, as well as 24 other Indonesian students in the area. Each and every one of them is reportedly safe, Jeff said in the statement.
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