3 juni 2002
According to Russian Security Council Secretary Rushailo, the rebel formations have decreased their activities. In particular, rebel fire at federal positions decreased almost by two-thirds in the first four months of 2002 as compared to the same period in 2001. In addition, the number of explosive devices set off dropped by a third (Interfax). A Chechen policeman was killed in his home in Chechnya on Saturday (Interfax). On Friday rebels killed the local head of administration in Bachi Yurt, Chechnya. Local police head was wounded (Kommersant).
Majority of Chechen refugees not willing to return home: Yesterday Minister of Socio-economic Development in Chechnya Yelagin said at a press-conference that 8,000 out of 150,000 temporarily displaced persons have voiced their wish to return to Chechnya from Ingushetia, while 40,000 have refused to do so. According to the Minister, 57% of the displaced persons in Ingushetia have usable housing in Chechnya. He also assured that “most of the conditions set for the return of Chechen refugees from Ingushetia have been met” (Kommersant, Interfax).
Chechnya: (1) Police office in Shatoi region was attacked by a group of rebels. The attackers are reported to have tried to distract the Federal Forces from Mesker Yurt, where a big group of rebels is currently blocked (Kommersant). (2) Four rebels were wounded when rebels exploded a land mine under a police jeep in Nadterechnaya district (Interfax).
Human Rights Ombudsman Mironov presents annual report to Duma: Yesterday Human Rights Ombudsman Mironov presented his annual report to the Duma. He is concerned, in particular, with the continuing sweep operations in Chechnya, too many block posts in the republic and the rights of military servicemen who are often not paid the promised allowances for the participation in operations (Kommersant).
Acquittal of officers implicated in death of policemen repealed: Yesterday the Supreme Court of Chechnya repealed the acquittal of officers implicated in the death of Sergeyev Posad OMON policemen. The Court ordered an additional investigation of this case. On 2 March, 2000 a group of OMON policemen was attacked, en route to Grozny, by unknown individuals. 22 policemen were killed in the attack (Interfax, Kommersant).
Colonel Rostovtsev appointed to coordinate return of refugees: Colonel Rostovtsev was appointed yesterday by the Interior Minister to coordinate the return of refugees from Ingushetia to Chechnya (Kommersant, Vremya novostei).
Chechnya: (1) A major terrorist attack was thwarted in Chechnya’s Shalinsky district. On 3 June police stopped a car and found inside it a large home-made explosive device (Interfax). (2) On 5 June two Russian servicemen were wounded as a result of Chechen rebels firing at federal posts (Interfax). (3) A mop-up operation has been underway for over two weeks in the village of Mesket-Yurt in Shali district. Only trucks delivering food and ambulances are allowed to pass into and from the village (Interfax). (4) Two Russian servicemen were killed and three other wounded when their vehicle hit a radio-controlled explosive device in Shali region (Interfax).
International rebel group liquidated in Chechnya: According to Kommersant, an international rebel group, including mercenaries from Ukraine and Russia, was liquidated in the Shelkovskoi district of Chechnya.
During his visit to Copenhagen FM Ivanov informed FM Sig-Møller about the efforts of Russian federal authorities to achieve a peace settlement in Chechnya and confirmed that Russia is open to dialogue on any issue. Reference was also made to another EU Troika visit to Chechnya which should take place in the autumn. (Interfax).
Chechnya: (1) According to the Russian federal forces headquarters, between 3 and 10 June Chechen rebels blew up 14 armoured vehicles belonging to the Russian federal forces. Within the same period servicemen neutralized over 140 explosive devices, detected 19 caches with arms and destroyed three summer camps and eight dugouts (BBC Worldwide Monitoring). (2) Twice last week Russian federal forces prevented the attempts of rebels from a group led by Arab mercenary Abu al-Valid to cross into Chechnya from Georgia’s Pankissi gorge through the Ingush and Dagestani autonomous republics (BBC Worldwide monitoring). (3) Heads of local authorities in Kurchaloevsky district of Chechnya will now be protected by a special guard platoon put together by the district’s military commandant (Interfax).
Chechnya: (1) According to Russian Deputy Interior Minister Chernenko, abound 147,000 Chechen refugees now live in Ingushetia in refugee camps and private homes. A total of 2,500 Chechen refugees returned from Ingushetia to Chechnya in the past two or three months (ITAR-TASS). (2) A recent opinion poll held by FOM shows that 59% of Russians are pessimistic about the situation in Chechnya, which is more than twice as high as the percentage of those who expect the conflict to be resolved soon (Interfax). (3) Federal forces lifted the blockade of Mesker-Yurt on Tuesday allowing residents who had been trapped outside the village during the operation to return. According to the village administrator, eight residents were killed during the first days of the mopping-up operation and twenty others were missing (The Moscow Times).
Chechnya theme discussed by PACE meeting in Saratov: The Committee on legal issues and human rights of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) is holding a meeting in Saratov. Committee members were quite critical on the human rights situation in Chechnya. According to PACE’s rapporteur on Chechnya Rudolf Bindig, people still “disappear and get arrested during searches”. (Kommersant, BBC Worldwide Monitoring).
Land mines kill thousands in Chechnya: (1) From 7,000 to 10,000 people, more than half of them children, have been hurt by land mines in Chechnya throughout the course of military operations, said visiting UN Undersecretary-General Otunnu (The Moscow Times, Kommersant, Interfax); (2) Interfax reports that Chechen rebels are again trying to spread mine warfare on Dagestan territory. Last week alone sappers unarmed several landmines in villages bordering with Chechnya.
Chechnya: (1) A UN delegation led by Undersecretary General Otunnu arrived in Chechnya yesterday to study problems of the return of refugees and the provision of aid to children who suffered during the armed conflict in the republic (Interfax).
Chechnya: (1) Several local administration officials were kidnapped in Chechen mountainous village of Benoi. Up to now the terrorists have not put forward any demands (Interfax). (2) The prosecutor’s office of Russia’s Kabarda-Balkar Republic has launched a criminal case relating to the embezzlement of R 156m, allocated for the purchase of provisions for migrants from Chechnya (ITAR-TASS).
Call for end to mopping-up operations in Chechnya: (i) President Putin said it is necessary to stop the so called ‘mopping-up operations’ in Chechnya. However, “this will become possible only after the legal, juridical and law-enforcement components of the Chechen administration are strengthened”, he said at the press conference. (ii) Putin did not rule out the possibility of unifying Chechnya and Ingushtia into one region (ORT, Rossiiskaya gazeta).
Perpetrators of Kaspiisk V-Day terrorist act named: Yesterday, Vladimir Kolesnikov, deputy Prosecutor General said in Makhachkala that Dagestani and federal law enforcement bodies have arrested and brought charges against 8 out of 18 members of a terrorist gang led by Chechen rebel Rappani Khalilov, that staged a bombing attack in Kaspiisk on 9 May, killing 45 people (ORT, Interfax, Kommersant).
DM Ivanov rejects Maskhadov’s offer for talks: Yesterday DM Ivanov rejected an offer of new talks by Chechen rebel leader Maskhadov, saying that the federal forces had seized documents confirming a direct link between Makhadov and international terrorists. According to Ivanov, the seized documents included a plan “written by Maskhadov personally” to recapture Grozny with a 1,000-man march on the Chechen capital set for 25 June (Kommersant, Izvestia, Interfax, The Moscow Times).
Chechnya: (1) Yesterday State Duma deputy from Chechnya Aslakhanov sharply criticised the practice of mop-up operations in Chechnya. He said that as a result of mop-ups in the villages of Mesker-Yurt and Chechen-Aul up to 30 residents were killed (Interfax). (2) Interfax quotes U.S. Ambassador in Russia Vershbow as telling journalists yesterday that the Chechen conflict is a Russian internal affair, and the country itself should decide on ways to settle it. Interfax also quotes Amb. Vershbow as saying that all military actions should be stopped in Chechnya and those who have not yet handed over arms should be forced to do so and that the U.S. underscores the need to put a political process in place. Interfax reports that Amb. Vershbow said that the U.S. government is taking efforts to curb financial support for Chechen terrorists.
Former Security Council Secretary Rybkin voices sharp criticism over military action in Chechnya: Kommersant publishes an open letter to President Putin authored by former Security Council Secretary Rybkin (Rybkin worked on a formal peace treaty between the Russian government and the Chechen separatists following the first Chechen conflict). In his letter, Rybkin sharply criticises the war in Chechnya and calls on Putin to start peace talks with Chechens. He also claims that the people of Russia do not approve of the war in Chechnya.