Publication: Monitor Volume: 6 Issue: 118

The situation in Chechnya remains extremely tense. On June 12, an Mi-8 helicopter crashed in the breakaway republic. It remains uncertain whether it was shot down by Chechen rebels or crashed due to a malfunction. It is also unknown how many people died in the crash, but Mi-8s can carry twenty-five people. Over the last three months, five military helicopters have crashed in Chechnya.

Whatever the case, the rebels have been carrying out terrorist attacks every day in Chechnya. The Russian military says that the rebel command has been giving orders to its men located on territory held by federal forces to carry out acts of sabotage. On June 15, a radio-controlled bomb killed four Russian servicemen. In addition, the Chechen rebel leaders have apparently decided to start using suicide terrorists. As the Monitor already reported, two such kamikazes attacked an automobile on territory controlled by the Perm OMON on June 7. The terrorists themselves died in the explosion, which killed two OMON troops. On June 11 in Djohar [Grozny], the Chechen capital, a car blew up at a checkpoint, killing two OMON troops and the driver, who was apparently a suicide bomber. The suicide bomber was apparently a former Russian serviceman who had converted to Islam and joined the Chechen rebels. On June 13 there was another attempt to blow up a car near an OMON checkpoint, but the terrorist was captured before carrying out the bombing.

Deputy Interior Minister Igor Zubov commented on the new form of terrorism, saying that the rebels were using it in an attempt to intimidate federal forces. Zubov emphasized that such methods were used by terrorists belonging to the group headed by Osama Bin Laden in the Middle East (Russian agencies, June 11-13; see also the Monitor, June 12).