–KADYROV OFFERS SACRIFICES
Chechen Deputy Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov, who is currently serving as the republic’s acting prime minister, marked the Muslim festival of Id al-Adha by sacrificing six camels and more than 300 sheep in his native village of Tsentoroi. Radio Mayak reported on January 10 that the meat was given out to the poor and widows of slain police officers. According to Interfax, Kadyrov told journalists that in two years “Chechnya will become the most successful region in the world” and that 2006 is “the year of the reconstruction of Grozny, and by the end of the year it will be difficult to find a destroyed house here.”
–MORE FEDERAL TROOPS KILLED
Agence France-Presse on January 10 quoted an unnamed official from the Kremlin-backed administration as saying that seven Russian soldiers had been killed and seven injured in fighting across Chechnya during the previous 24 hours. On January 6, the news agency, also again quoting an anonymous pro-Moscow administration official, reported that four federal soldiers and three Chechen police officers had been killed in Chechnya over the previous 24 hours.
–BRIT AMBASSADOR: NO PROOF ZAKAEV INVOLVED IN TERRORISM
British Ambassador to Russia, Tony Brenton, told Interfax on January 11 that Moscow has not presented London with evidence that Chechen separatist emissary Akhmad Zakaev was involved in terrorism. “Mr. Zakaev is protected by British law, which means that it is for a court, not the government, to decide to extradite him,” Brenton said. “The court needs to be presented with clear evidence that Zakaev has broken the law in some way. Since I arrived in Russia 15 months ago, I have regularly said to the Russian authorities: ‘present the evidence to a court and Mr. Zakaev will be extradited.’ So far, sadly, they have not yet presented any evidence to a British court.” The British ambassador said his government was “appalled that Mr. Zakaev spoke in support of the terrorists who attacked Nalchik” and noted that Prime Minister Tony Blair “publicly criticized what Mr. Zakaev said.”