Chechen rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov may not be pardoned, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sunday during a stopover in the Norwegian capital, en route to the United States. According to the Russian minister, Maskhadov's influence in Chechnya has now been reduced to naught.
Shamil Basayev, another notorious leader of the Chechen separatists, is reported to be hiding in Russia. Locating him is a matter of time, the minister said.
Chechen rebel leaders are too weak to mount any large-scale combat operation in Chechnya these days, Mr. Ivanov assured his audience. The minister claims that Basayev's role has now been confined to the arrangement of training for suicide bombers and masterminding of terrorist acts outside the Chechen republic.
According to Mr. Ivanov, not a single Russian serviceperson was killed or wounded in Chechnya last week.
"We should use shock therapy to sober up the Americans. In this case, the Americans will speak about the need to resume dialogue. There is no other option"
The United States is concerned about the current crisis in the relations with Russia and suggests returning to reasonable policies to avoid a nuclear war