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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

FSB Arrests 2 in Plot to Assassinate Matviyenko

ST. PETERSBURG -- The Federal Security Service said Saturday that it had arrested two people on suspicion of plotting to assassinate St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko.

In a statement, the FSB said the two residents of the nearby Leningrad region were detained Wednesday while in possession of two F-1 hand grenades and more than 500 grams of plastic explosives.

Matviyenko, 58, told reporters that people might try to use attacks on politicians to undermine stability.

"You just cannot rule out the fact that terrorist acts against politicians and employees of the state are aimed at undermining the situation and attracting attention," she said in televised remarks.

"The law enforcement agencies have worked very professionally, as you can see," Matviyenko said with a smile.

State news channel Vesti-24 showed FSB footage of the suspects being searched. They lay facedown on the ground as FSB officers found a grenade and a lump of what looked like plastic explosives.

Matviyenko said she had no plans to increase her own security because of the threat: "I feel calm."

Kremlin supporters have sounded warnings that extremist groups and radicals financed from abroad could try to undermine political stability.

But many opponents tend to view such "plot" reports as an attempt by a group in power to raise the political temperature in the 2007 and 2008 election season for political ends.

Matviyenko, a former diplomat and deputy prime minister, has helped Putin cement Kremlin control over the northern city where he was born.

Elected governor of St Petersburg in 2003, she had a second, five-year term approved by Putin in December.

Matviyenko made no attempt to keep out of the public spotlight over the weekend. On Sunday, she put on in-line skates to officiate a 20-kilometer skating race in St. Petersburg.

Reuters, AP