Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke at a press conference in Paris after his negotiations with French President Jacques Chirac prior to leaving for Poland. He reiterated that the so-called Chechen problem was an interior affair of Russia. Putin stressed that Russia was against the policy of double-standards concerning the struggle against international terrorism and compared the situation in Chechnya with the recent events in Afghanistan, where the terrorist organization al-Qaeda was acting under the cover of the Taliban movement. Putin explained that the same organization was acting in the Chechen republic under the cover of another criminal regime. "They shot and beheaded people in the streets," Putin stressed. He announced that Russian authorities had the right to use any military means against this regime if juridical methods were not effective.
As November 4 approaches (on this day, Russia and Belarus are to sign union programs), disputes between supporters and opponents of the integration become increasingly heated