In Moscow, a special Storm plan was imposed. Yesterday evening, several minutes before the second act of the famous musical Nord-Ost, a group of 20 or 30 people, apparently Chechens, rushed in to the auditorium of the former Club of Moscow Ball Bearing Factory. They made several aimless shots and permitted to the spectators to phone to their relatives and friends through cellular telephones, then they announced all the present were hostages. According to NTV television company, the terrorists possess Kalashnikov submachine-guns.
In 30 minutes, children and Muslims were released from the building. According to some information, explosives were placed in the hall. Near to the building of the Culture Theatre, all the leadership of Moscow Internal Affairs Office gathered, representatives of Moscow Emergency Office, Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. President Putin was also informed about the situation. The special group Alfa was preparing itself for the operation.
23.00 MSK. Five hostages managed to escape, by jumping out from the window.
23.15 MSK. According to the Internet-agency kavkaz.org, well-known militant Movsar Baraev took responsibility for the terrorist act. The agency states that were Chechen terrorists who captured the building of the Culture Theatre. The terrorist group is headed by Movsar Baraev himself, while the terrorists are belted around with explosives. Baraev is said to have connected with the agency and announced that people who attached Moscow are suicide terrorists. According to him, “Chechen Mojahedins came to Moscow to die.” They have only one demand: to stop the war and to immediately withdraw Russian troops from Chechnya.
23.25 MSK. Seven hostages managed to escape.
23.40 MSK. According to several people who managed to escape from the concert hall, terrorists were beating unmercifully people, while in some passages of the building, floor was swimming in blood. Though the eye-witnesses could not say who were that people who suffered from terrorists.
23.50 MSK. The radio station Mayak reported referring to sources in Moscow Emergency Service the terrorists who captured the building machine-gunned a group of operatives before the central entrance and threw a grenade. While operatives managed to mount a ladder by the end-wall of the building and to rescue actors hiding in their dressing rooms.
00.00 MSK. A crowd of people surrounding the Theatre Centre demanded to annihilate terrorists. According to RIA ‘Novosti’ correspondent, people who live in the houses near to the Culture Theatre were indignant at the event and called to resolute actions without showing compassion on the terrorists.
00.05 MSK. BBC reported the number of terrorists who captured the building made about 100 people.
00.30 MSK. According to Main Office of Internal Affairs, terrorists released 300 hostages.
00.40 MSK. Tatyana Solnyshkina, musician of the musical orchestra phoned the NTV studio and begged to no way start the building storm. NTV journalist suggested to Mrs Solnyshkina to propose to one of the terrorists to express their demands live in a TV company programme.
00.58 MSK. Marginal people of different colours manifested. Following e-mail letter was received by PRAVDA.Ru: “We are very hopeful that Chechen guerrillas have finally reached the bloody regime of Putin in its very den, in the capital. Revolution Contact Unit approves of it hot and fully supports the Moscow antiwar action of the Chechen Resistance in the form it was described by eye-witnesses and mass media the night it was conducted. We are at one with our Chechen brothers who are forced to fight to the bitter end and to counterattack the bloody Russian state terrorism everywhere – from Chechnya to Moscow. The Kremlin sew wind in Chechnya for so many years, so now it has to reap storm in Moscow and all over Russia! Death to the empire! Chechnya will be free!
Subscribed: P.Kantor, B.Stomakhin.
01.01 MSK. The government over of the rescue operation was taken by the deputy director of Russian Federal Security Service (FSB), Vladimir Pronichev. This was reported by the chief of Information and Public Relation Department of Moscow Main Office of Internal Affairs, Valery Gribakin. According to him, the terrorist group counts 40 people. The terrorists do not withhold they are Chechens. All of them wear masks and are tied round with explosives.
01.06 MSK. Deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Security, Federal Security Service colonel Mikhail Grishakov said to NTV correspondent that the terrorists who captured hostages fully control the situation. The same was said to PRAVDA.Ru by ex-head of Third Department of KGB-FSB “Military Intelligence” Alexandr Zhardetsky.
01.18 MSK. At night on Wednesday to Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin carried out in his office an extraordinary sitting of the Security Council with internal minister Boris Gryzlov and FSB director Nikolay Patrushev. Both security chiefs reported about the development of the situation. In the sitting, Prime-Minister Mikhail Kasyanov and the head of the Kremlin Administration Alexandr Voloshin also participated.
01.40 MSK. The chairman of Supreme Soviet of Russia, Ruslan Hasbulatov and the State Duma deputy from Chechnya Aslanbek Aslakhanov started negotiations with the terrorists.
01.49 MSK. The terrorists declared their intention to make a statement for mass media. This was reported to journalists by Aslanbek Aslakhanov. According to him, terrorists have not so far communicated with him and the negotiations have not been started yet. The terrorists’ demands were transmitted to him by released hostages.
01.54 MSK. It became known that there were several dozens of women with submachine-guns among the terrorists.
02.00 MSK. Three German citizens were reported to be in the captured building. This was reported by French mass media referring to the statement of German Foreign Ministry.
02.13 MSK. A teacher of Golden Section School reported to journalists, that in the building, there were 15 pupils of the school in age of 12 years and older.
02.15 MSK. Terrorists announced they were ready to release 50 more hostages in exchange for the head of the Chechen administration Akhmat Kadyrov.
02.41 MSK. Aslakhanov had a telephone conversation with the terrorist representative, though they did not reach any agreement.
02.46 MSK. Internal troops broaden the encirclement zone around the building. Special units were ready for action, while representatives of Chechen diaspora tried to carry dialogue with the terrorists.
03.05 MSK. Near to underground station “Proletarskaya”, several buses were driven in case it would be necessary to evacuate hostages from the building of the Theatre Centre. The drivers of the buses said they accounted on good results of the negotiations with the terrorists. RIA 'Novosti' correspondent reported from the spot, that in case of an unhappy outcome, there were armoured vehicles in the nearest side streets.
03.14 MSK. One bus with released hostages drove off from the theatre building. Though, it was not clear whether that were newly released hostages or that ones released before. The bus transported 25 people, mainly the elderly ones, muffled with towels. The bus was escorted by an ambulance vehicle.
03.20 MSK. British Foreign Office reported there were three British citizens among the hostages.
03.35 MSK. Evacuation of people living in the nearest blocks of flats started.
03.34 MSK. Aslanbek Aslakhanov asked Moscow Chechens to come to the spot and to try to influence the terrorists. Though, it was not clear what was the respond.
03.44 MSK. Snipers started to occupy roofs of the nearest blocks of flats.
03.55 MSK. The ex-deputy secretary of Russian Security Council, Boris Berezovsky recommended to send Ivan Rybkin to negotiations with the terrorists. According to Berezovsky, this would allow to solve the problem, because “Chechen trust Rybkin,” and “he has never deceived them” and “has always carried out a hard straight policy.” “If he comes in the hall and says: I am responsible for the start of peace negotiations, I would give you a 100-percent guarantee, that there would be no victim,” – Berezovsky said. The former Kremlin favourite seems to know what he says: according to some experts, one of the masterminds of the terrorist acts may be Boris Berezovsky himself.
10:10 MSK. Inside the building of the Theatre Centre a kind of explosion resounded. This was reported from the spot by RIA ‘Novosti’ correspondent. At the same time, the correspondent noticed, that probably was not an explosion. At 09:10 MSK, in the area of the Theatre Centre, where 500 to 700 people are held by the terrorists, a sound could be heard, very similar to an explosion RTR-Vesti.Ru reported. Though, nobody could say that was namely an explosion. According to low-enforcers, something very similar to an explosion sound was heard also at 05:00.
Translated by Vera Solovieva