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Acting President and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin commented to reporters on the situation in the Chechen Republic

January 10, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow

The Russian authorities know for a fact that the bombers who carried out the terrorist attacks in Moscow, Volgodonsk and Buinaksk had been trained in the town of Urus-Martan in Chechnya.

Mr Putin stressed that the terrorists were trying to escape punishment, but they would not. Recent attempts by terrorists to escalate hostilities have been unsuccessful. He said that Interior Ministry forces had seized control of all buildings in the town of Argun that had been under the control of terrorists. He also said that Interior Ministry forces had sustained losses, and the exact number was being determined.

One of the causes of the worsening situation in Chechnya, Mr Putin said, was the terrorists’ efforts to hide what was really happening in the republic. As Russian forces moved across Chechen territory, more proof was emerging of the brutal crimes committed by gangsters against the Chechen people, said the acting president.

The Russian military has followed Mr Putin’s order to suspend hostilities for the last few days because of religious holidays, but as he pointed out, the events that followed showed that “we are facing gangsters, people without traditions, without faith.”

January 10, 2000, The Kremlin, Moscow