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Archive for the ‘Chechnya’ Category

Police kill 13 militants in Russia’s North Caucasus

Posted by Kris Roman on July 12, 2009

Thirteen armed men were killed in clashes with police in Russia’s regions of Dagestan and Chechnya on Sunday in the latest outburst of violence in the turbulent North Caucasus, local media and police said.

On Saturday, security forces in the nearby region of Ingushetia killed four militants, including a rebel leader. The shooting in Dagestan broke out near the town of Khasavyurt after policemen tried to stop a car without number plates.

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Vostok battalion to remain in Chechnya

Posted by Kris Roman on June 10, 2008

Russia’s Defense Ministry will keep its Vostok special battalion, allegedly involved in a recent shootout with Chechen presidential guards, in the Chechen Republic, a high-ranking military official said on Tuesday.

Russian military officials earlier denied that a shootout had taken place on April 14 involving rival security convoys under the command of the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, and Vostok’s commander, Sulim Yamadayev.

What is known is that the two columns of vehicles crashed on a highway in Gudermes after refusing to give way to each other. The Vostok base was subsequently surrounded by Kadyrov’s men. The incident led to wide-spread rumors that the Vostok unit, along with another defense ministry special battalion, Zapad, could be disbanded.

“The battalions are certain to be kept. They perform tasks not only in the framework of the Joint Group of Forces in the North Caucasus, but also peacekeeping tasks in South Ossetia and Abkhazia,” said Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, head of the Armed Forces combat training directorate.

Chechnya’s Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said after the convoy incident that Sulim Yamadayev’s brother, Badrudi, was suspected of having been behind the incident and that law enforcement officers were conducting an operation to try and trace him.

The Chechen parliament then adopted a statement addressed to Russian Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, requesting the dismissal of Commander Yamadayev and his brother from their posts in the battalion, which was specially formed to conduct military operations against Chechen militants.

“The Yamadayev brothers are linked to a number of serious crimes, including murders and abductions, as well as the events in the Borozdinovskaya [village],” Kadyrov said.

Vostok battalion troops conducted a special military operation in the Borozdinovskaya village in the summer of 2005. Four houses were burnt down, 11 people disappeared and a 77-year-old man died as a result of the operation.

Sulim Yamadayev has accused Kadyrov of provoking the convoy incident in order to force the battalion’s withdrawal from Chechnya. He also expressed his shock in an interview with the Russian Vlast magazine in April that his battalion’s base had been surrounded by “people who fought against Russia [in the Chechen wars].”

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War games in Chechnya

Posted by Kris Roman on May 3, 2008

The largest and only Russian army unit to be permanently located in the Chechen Republic has held large-scale training involving heavy artillery. Situated in the city of Khankala, 10 km from the capital Grozny, the 42nd division is made up of more than 15,000 professional servicemen.Those already drafted can sign a contract for at least three years to stay in the army. But it needs to become their profession if they are to operate in such a dangerous area.

Regiments are located in areas where there is still the threat of possible attack, such as Bashen-Kale near the Russian-Georgian border.
During the wars of the 1990s clashes were common there, but over the last five years things have changed dramatically. The city of Khankala was among the places which saw the worst fighting in the 1990s.

Some five years ago there was debris all around in Khankala, the city was severely damaged. Today there’s a division which looks more like a small city where thousands of professional soldiers do their jobs.

Some even bring their families with them. There is infrastructure available for them, including a kindergarten, schools and a hospital, which people say is the best in the area.

The division even has its own bread-baking plant which provides soldiers and their relatives with fresh buns and rolls.

Just a few days ago Tomas Hammarberg, the European commissioner for human rights, visited Chechnya. He said the republic is far from being a top holiday destination and living here could still be dangerous but it’s improving.

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“Whom Does Chechnya Support?”

Posted by Kris Roman on January 20, 2005

Article of Vadim Lukov, Russia’s Ambassador to Belgium,
Published in the Flemish Newspaper Tijd on January 19, 2005

The name of Akhmed Zakayev has again shown up in the pages of the Belgian press in the last few weeks. This man, calling himself Aslan Maskhadov’s envoy in Europe, had tried to arrive in Belgium for contacts with the representatives of the Committee of Soldiers’ Mothers, a Russian nongovernmental organization. And when this had failed, he had delivered in his newspaper interviews a stream of reproaches against the government of Belgium, and the now-traditional curses against Russian authorities.
It would seem the matter is closed. But to leave unanswered Zakayev’s claims about the situation in Chechnya and about the policy of the Russian government in this republic within the Russian Federation is impossible. Otherwise the Belgian public may form a distorted impression of what is happening in this Russian region.

On the situation in Chechnya itself

The envoy of Maskhadov in his interviews describes it briefly – a catastrophe. To believe Zakayev, about 100 Russian troops get killed in Chechnya every week, and about 200 Chechens keep on disappearing. Kidnappings of people flourish, Chechnya is occupied by a 100,000-strong group of forces, and so on.

But here are the facts. The strength of the troops and federal police units in Chechnya is 45,000 men, with the army forces proper being about 20,000. Gradually the tasks of law enforcement are being handed over to the local police, where Chechens themselves serve. They number about 15,000, and they have already acquitted themselves as a force capable of effectively suppressing terrorist bands. But, as we see, there is no 100,000-strong army in Chechnya.

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