A violent confrontation between members of the Vostok battalion, which operates under the federal Defense Ministry’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU), and Chechen law-enforcement personnel reportedly took place on May 26. Kavkazky Uzel quoted an unnamed Chechen Interior Ministry officer who described what happened. “On the evening on May 26 on the Gudermes-Shuani highway, members of the PPC (patrol-sentry service) of the republican MVD who were carrying out operational-search activities set up a mobile guard-post. Carrying out orders from the leadership of the republic’s MVD, the policemen stopped and checked the weight of the motor transport passing along the road. Around eight o’clock in the evening, they stopped a column of three Urals trucks accompanied by two passenger cars—a Zhiguli and a Niva—for examination. In response to the demand to present documents, one of the military men with the rank of captain pulled out a pistol and demanded that they be allowed to pass, stating that they were heading to the Vostok battalion’s base. The policemen decided not to get into a conflict with the servicemen and allowed the column to pass.”
According to Kavkazky Uzel, however, after the column arrived at the Vostok base, a group of Vostok servicemen returned from the base to the guard-post and demanded that the guard-post be removed, which led to a fight in which two of the Chechen policemen, an office and a sergeant, were injured and subsequently hospitalized. “In order to intimidate the policemen, the servicemen also opened fire under their feet and shot up a car [belonging to] members of the DPS [road patrol service], and then left for their base,” the Chechen Interior Ministry officer told Kavkazky Uzel, adding that the incident is now under investigation. “This is hardly the first case of Vostok servicemen coming into conflict with members of the republic’s law-enforcement organs,” he said.
A confrontation between a group of Vostok servicemen led by Badruddi Yamadaev, younger brother of the battalion’s commander, Sulim Yamadaev, and members of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov’s bodyguard unit that took place on April 14 after the Vostok members refused to yield a road outside Gudermes to Kadyrov’s motorcade reportedly resulted in a number of deaths. Following the incident, the Chechen authorities placed Badruddi Yamadaev on the republic’s wanted list. Kadyrov subsequently claimed that Sulim Yamadaev had been replaced as the battalion’s commander by a person whom Kadyrov did not name. That, however, has not been officially confirmed (Chechnya Weekly, April 17 and 24; May 1, 8, 16 and 22).