On Sunday, May 20, the Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the May 19 attack on the Orthodox Church of Archangel Michael in central Grozny (Chechnya). Four assailants were killed in the attack, along with two police officers and one civilian. A heightened security presence is anticipated in the area in response to the attack. Further attacks by IS militants are possible in Chechnya in the coming weeks.
Chechnya is located within Russia's North Caucasus region, which also includes the restive Muslim-majority regions of Ingushetia, Dagestan, and Kabardino-Balkaria. Islamist militants and criminal groups in the region have been known to target Russian military personnel, local officials, and moderate Muslims. Chechnya, in particular, has been the site of a decades-long conflict between Moscow and separatist and religious radical groups; a large number of people from Chechnya have reportedly joined IS.
Individuals in Grozny are advised to remain vigilant, obey all instructions issued by the local authorities, and report any suspicious objects or behavior to the relevant authorities. As a reminder, some Western governments advise against nonessential travel to parts of the North Caucasus region.