Izvestia, August 27, 2002, p. 2

Colonel General Anatoly Shkirko, ex-commander of the United Federal Group in Chechnya and ex-commander of the Internal Troops, does not think much of the operation in the Pankiss Gorge and calls it a sham.

Shkirko: Georgian Internal Troops are too weak to disarm or destroy terrorists in the Pankiss Gorge. They lack the strength and the means. Most probably, they will set up a checkpoint or two, and that will be the end of the whole operation. Words are one thing, you know, and deeds are different. Gunmen will slip by and escape. The official authorities will then announce that there are no gunmen in the gorge, only old men, women, and kids. Nothing will really change. It is all a sham, something staged for the United States.

Shevardnadze promises not to put up anymore with what he calls bombardments of the territory of Georgia. Since Russia refused to come up and apologize, all trespassers will be shot down, the leader of Georgia said. That is, provided its missiles reached far enough to get the trespasser, Defense Minister David Tevzadze admitted.

Official Tbilisi may expect the international community to castigate Russia. George W. Bush’s Administration has already condemned the bombardments. OSCE officials confirmed “appearance above the territory of Georgia of aircraft from the north.” Some sources in Tbilisi say that the bombardments may be viewed as an attempt to wreck the order-restoration operation of Tbilisi. Foreign Minister of Georgia, Irakly Menagarishvili, says that when the situation in the Pankiss Gorge stabilizes, the Russian military stuck in Chechnya “will not have anybody to blame for its own inability to do away with the armed resistance.”


Izvestia, August 27, 2002, p. 2

Ingush law enforcement agencies informed the population yesterday that two border guards of the Nazran Detachment missing since the murder of eight comrades of theirs in the Dzheirak Gorge were dangerous criminals. According to the Interior Ministry of Ingushetia, border guards were murdered by Oleg Khismatulin, 22, and Nikolai Bashkov, 20. Military prosecutor’s office of the Federal Border Guards Service does not denounce the hypothesis.

A source in the Ingush Interior Ministry: The men disappeared from the site of the crime with their weapons. Moreover, they even took the clips from their comrades’ automatic rifles. A resident of an Ossetian village saw them afterwards not far from the border… We are looking for the murderers in Ingushetia.

Sergei Chibizov, head of the PR department of the Military Prosecutor’s Office of the Federal Border Guards Service: We consider several hypotheses, two of them major: attack of a gang and deserters.

Nobody at the prosecutor’s office could explain strange confidence of the Ingush law enforcement agencies in calling two missing border guards murderers. Chibizov confirms, however, that two automatic rifles, a machine gun, and 600 rounds are missing.


Izvestia, August 27, 2002, p. 2

Graves were found in Chechnya in the vicinity of the settlement of Stary Achkhoi in Achkhoi-Martan district. Sources from the regional operational headquarters say that gangs of Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev had a concentration camp there back in 1996. All bodies found had been decapitated. Law enforcement agencies assume them to be hostages the criminals once took for ransom.

Prosecutor of Chechnya Nikolai Kostyuchenko says that “five bodies have been unearthed”. Supposedly, they were murdered in March 1996. Sources in the Achkhoi-Martan district administration believe that these must be the electricians who were repairing the Grozny power plant during the first Chechen war and were abducted by one of the gangs. Alexander Nikitin, chief of the crime department of the Chechen prosecutor’s office, backed up this hypothesis. He said that the bodies would be moved to the 124th Forensic Lab in Rostov-on-Don for identification.