The situation in Chechnya remains tense and explosive. This is confirmed by data on almost daily clashes of federal forces with militants. For example, this week servicemen of security agencies of the Chechen Republic were searching for two groups of militants, one of which attached the police station in the Shatoi District on May 17, and the second which engaged into a firing exchange with servicemen of a military unit of the Defense Ministry in the neighboring Urus-Martan District of the republic.
Three servicemen of the Defense Ministry were wounded during the firing exchange with the militants. This happened on May 18 at 11:20 a. m. eight kilometers from Tangi village of the Urus-Martan District.
A source in the law-enforcement agencies of Chechnya reports, “A clash with a bandit group occured in a forest during a reconnaissance and search operation of servicemen of the Defense Ministry.” According to the source, the group consisted of approximately 15 militants. Commander and deputy commander of the reconnaissance group and a contract serviceman were wounded during the clash. Fortunately, no soldiers or officers were killed. Meanwhile, it turns out that this is rather an exception from the rule.
In his recent interview to Krasnaya Zvezda Major General Nikolai Sivak, commander of the United Group of Forces (UGF) in the North Caucasus, said that as of April 27, the UGF that included the Chechen police had 17 people killed. Sivak remarked with regret that less people (15) died during the same period in 2007. Thus, it turned out that almost five soldiers and policemen died in Chechnya every month in 2008.
Along with this, monthly losses of militants amount to eight people. This meant that according to Sivak, 32 militants were killed in 2008.
This quantity is almost the same as the quantity of members of illegal armed forces killed in 2007. Sivak draws a disheartening conclusion that “unfortunately, flow of the youth to the ranks of the militants takes place still and many bandits whom we catch in the mountains are no more than 20 years old.”
The general emphasizes the activeness of the militants and thus disproves of statements of President of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov that everything was quiet in the republic and just 70-80 militants remained in the mountains. It turns out that the quantity of such people is much bigger.
In February of 2008, Colonel General Arkady Yedelev, head of the operational staff in the Chechen Republic, reported that up to 440 militants within 32 groups were operating in Chechnya. Along with this, Yedelev said that activities of militants in the North Caucasus were coordinated from abroad. Foreign militants act on the territory of Russia still. According to him, “Among them are Abdullakh, Mukhannad, Seif Islam, Sheikh Abdurakhman, Sheikh Mukhtar, Yasir, Abu Khalid etc.” Unfortunately, according to the Deputy Interior Minister, they were not detained yet.
Sivak speaks about problems in combating members of the illegal armed forces too. He states that sometimes measures of the Federal Security Service and police for closing money transfer from abroad are too late.
The general explains, “Very often only when we kill a militant we find out that he has brought money, has been a financier, etc.” Sivak says that the population is to a certain extent in opposition to local authorities. According to him, “The local population either supports the bandit groups or has a neutral attitude to them, does not counteract to them and does not give them up to the federal forces. But for such an attitude of the population, the bandit groups would have been finished a long time ago.”
Nezavisimaya Gazeta concludes that this conclusion can be called sensational because both federal and local authorities have assured Russian and international public frequently that people believe the new authorities of Chechnya, fully support President Ramzan Kadyrov and are inclined towards peaceful construction. This is not so yet. Militants operate and servicemen still die in Chechnya.