A Chechen detachment was reported to have seized up to 40 civilians, mainly Russian construction workers, in Chechnya’s capital this morning. The captors’ precise identity and demands were not immediately clear. In recent days, Russian command and intelligence services have worried that Chechen commander Shamil Basayev might mount an operation to distract the attention of Russian authorities from Raduyev’s detachment in Pervomaiskoye. Over the weekend, the power ministries gave conflicting reports as to the whereabouts of Basayev’s detachment. Russia’s border troop command reported the detachment was headed for Georgia; the internal affairs ministry, that the unit was in North Ossetia; and the federal intelligence service, that the detachment was planning a terror operation somewhere in Russia. Finally, the Army command in Grozny reported that the feared commander and his men were near Grozny. (4)
Primakov: Sovereignty of CIS States Irreversible.