Putin's policy will lead to more terror, says exile

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The Independent Online

A Chechen separatist envoy to Britain warned yesterday that there would be more massacres such as the one in Beslan unless President Vladimir Putin changed his policies.

A Chechen separatist envoy to Britain warned yesterday that there would be more massacres such as the one in Beslan unless President Vladimir Putin changed his policies.

Akhmed Zakayev also accused the Russian government of manufacturing evidence to implicate Chechens in the attack. He said that those responsible - a local group - were avenging killings by the military.

The statements are likely to anger Moscow, which claims that Mr Zakayev's rebel group was responsible for the school siege that ended with 335 deaths, many of them children. Russia has attacked Britain for granting political asylum to Mr Zakayev, who it accuses of murder and kidnapping. Mr Zakayev is the envoy of Aslan Mashkadov, the former Chechen president accused by Moscow of planning the Beslan attack with the rebel commander Shamil Basayev. Russia has offered a £5.6m reward for information that will help "neutralise" the two men.

Mr Zakayev said: "Putin's policy has not only not stabilised Chechnya but has brought about a worsening of the situation. If his policy towards Chechnya continues in the same vein the Caucasus will radicalise even further and I am gravely concerned more Beslans will be inevitable."

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