Vladimir Putin is sure that the Russian secret services will ultimately seize leaders of the Chechen militants, Maskhadov and Basayev. The President said this on Monday during the live TV broadcast when he answered the question put by a pensioner from the Moscow region. The pensioner cited Bislan Gantamirov as telling the media that he does not know where these criminals are staying and asked the head of state why they had not been arrested so far. Vladimir Putin noted that Gantamirov, who is now deputy plenipotentiary representative of the President in the Southern federal district, recently was the mayor of Grozny and was responsible for the Chechen militia to a considerable extent. If Gantamirov knew where, in what house, these or other notorious bandits are staying and had an opportunity to seize them, he would do this, Vladimir Putin said and added that he is sure of this because he knows his character very well. But, Vladimir Putin continued, such knowledge is of a general nature. The head of state also paid attention to the fact that thousands of people lived in the populated localities where, according to Gantamirov, the bandits were hiding. That is why, the President stressed, we cannot take mass special measures connected with the so-called mop-ups in places where thousands of people live. According to him, in this case aviation and heavy bombers cannot be used as it was done in Afghanistan. We should not forget that people who live in Chechnya are Russian citizens and we should act cautiously there, Vladimir Putin pointed out.
The 23-year-old athlete was returning to the base through the forest after fishing on the Irtysh River. There were two other fishermen with him