Guards at a Chechen checkpoint on the border with Russia’s Stavropol krai reportedly fired automatic weapons yesterday at two vehicles carrying officials of the Stavropol krai branch of the Russian MVD. None of the Stavropol police officials were injured. According to the chief of the Stavropol branch of the MVD’s press service, Igor Pogosov, "this is the first such incident since the signing of the treaty with Chechnya." (Interfax, May 29)
The incident could have had unpredictable consequences. A post of the Russian Interior Ministry troops is located next to the Chechen checkpoint which fired on the policemen, and, had they followed orders, the federal troops could have returned fire. In the opinion of one of the Russian policeman, the incident was a provocation designed to disrupt Chechen president Aslan Maskhadov’s meeting with Russian prime minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, which is scheduled to be held in the near future. (NTV, May 29)
Are Nazdratenko’s Days Numbered?