Source Pravda.Ru

Russian Mi-24 helicopter downed by Chechen bandits in Ingushetia, one of which a British citizen

A British passport was found on one of the killed terrorists

A source at the Russian army headquarters in the Caucasus stated that a Russian helicopter was downed by a missile from a mobile anti-aircraft weapon at 8 a.m. Two crew members died. The source also said that the gunmen tried to shoot at another helicopter, missing.

The Russian helicopter was downed during a battle that started at night in the village of Galashki. NTVRu.com reported that there were over 300 guerrillas involved. By midday, the gunmen were driven out of the settlement. They were pushed onto an agricultural farm not far from the village. Russian Army Headquarters in the Caucasus informed that the gunmen arrived from Georgia.

The group of gunmen in Ingushetia is reportedly headed by Vitaly Smirnov (born in 1977). Chechnya’s Office of the Public Prosecutor said to the Russian RBC news agency that Smirnov’s gang is sought by federal military structures for committing several outrageous crimes. Smirnov’s gang is charged with kidnapping people for ransom, as well as with numerous assaults and robberies.

The Office of the Public Prosecutor of the Chechen republic stated that Vitaly Smirnov had not shown any activity until recently. Most likely, Smirnov’s actions did not have any hidden motives. The guerrillas were most likely moving from their temporary hiding area to the north of Chechnya. They bumped into federal troops, which resulted in a battle. However, Chechen prosecutors suggested that Smirnov might change his tactics and launch a real struggle with federal forces, for the right price, of course.

RIA Novosti reported that one of the killed gunmen had British IDs on him. The information office of the Russian president said with reference to Russian special services that the name of the killed gunman was Roderick John Scott, born in 1973. According to information from the special services, the British passport had a Georgian visa, no. 364496. The visa is valid from June 13, 2002 until September 15, 2002. In addition, there was a video camera and tapes found among the dead rebels. The tapes and documents are being checked currently.

Gennady Seleznyov, the speaker of the Russian State Duma, stated that the gunmen who penetrated into the territory of Ingushetia were not the last terrorist group that crossed the Russian border. Seleznyov said that Georgia must realize that Russia was not wasting its time when it suggested getting rid of the guerrillas. “Those who do not surrender should be physically destroyed,” said Seleznyov.

Sergey Yugov PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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