In the wake of a series of rebel attacks in Chechnya, Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov on June 18 called on federal and Chechen units to conduct a “joint military operation” against the militants, the newspaper Severny Kavkaz reported on its website on June 19. “It is necessary to carry out a joint military operation,” the Chechen presidential press service quoted Kadyrov as saying during a meeting with representatives of the republic’s power structures in Grozny on June 18. “Together with units of the Russian Federation Defense Ministry, the Sever [North] and Yug [South] battalions, and also the A. [Akhmad] Kadyrov regiment, must be put into action. With joint actions, we must put an end to these crimes.” During the same meeting, Kadyrov promised that if necessary, he would put on camouflage, take an assault rifle and go to the mountains to fight the rebels by himself (North Caucasus Weekly, June 19).
Kadyrov’s comments, which seem to be a frantic reaction to the recent series of rebel attacks, are worth noting against the backdrop of the comments he made at the start of the year, when he vowed that all of the rebels located in Chechnya would be eliminated by the end of the winter. At that time, he insisted that 99 percent of the militants had already been killed or put down their weapons in the course of the republic’s amnesty and that only “several dozens” of rebels, who had “stained themselves with blood and cut themselves off from the path to return to a peaceful life,” were still “running around the mountains” (Chechnya Weekly, January 24).
On June 23, the press service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) reported that members of the FSB’s Alpha and Vympel spetsnaz commando units, together with Chechen law-enforcement personnel, had killed three fighters from remnants of the rebel group headed by “Wahhabi” leader Muslim Gakaev (aka Dungo), a majority of whose members were killed in special operation in 2005, during which five Alpha and Vympel members were also killed. According to Interfax, the FSB’s press service reported that on this occasion, the Alpha and Vympel commandos had come across the rebel fighters while carrying out a special operation together with Chechen law-enforcement personnel in a wooded area on the outskirts of the village of Makhkety in Chechnya’s Vedeno district. According to the FSB, the bodies of the three rebels were discovered following a shootout. The dead militants were identified as Mavsur Bolatov, a resident of Dagestan, and Islam Temishev and Yusup Dichilaev, both residents of Makhkety. All three, according to the FSB, had been involved in attacks on law-enforcement personnel in Chechnya and Dagestan, the murder of federal servicemen and the kidnapping-for-ransom of civilians.
Newsru.com reported on June 22 that two servicemen with the federal Interior Ministry’s Internal Troops and a serviceman with an OMON special police unit from Kamchatka Krai were wounded in a shootout that took place when they were attacked by as many as nine rebel fighters on the outskirts of Makhkety. One of the rebels reportedly died in the gun battle.
Also on June 22, a serviceman with the federal Interior Ministry died when a convoy of five vehicles carrying Interior Ministry servicemen from Adygea was fired on by militants near the village of Mekenskaya in Chechnya’s Naursk district. According to RIA Novosti, the servicemen were traveling from the Russian military base at Khankala, outside Grozny, to Mozdok, North Ossetia, from where they were to travel home to Adygea.