President Of Russia: Criminal Punishment Threatens All Officials For Crimes Committed In Chechnya

Vladimir Putin stated that in Russia "all officials, including servicemen, will be prosecuted if it is proved that they have committed crimes on Chechen territory." The head of the Russian state said this at a Paris press conference summing up his talks with president of France Jacques Chirac. According to the president of Russia, more than twenty servicemen have already been prosecuted in Chechnya. But he also recalled that Russia had never denied any humanitarian organisation a chance to work on Chechen territory. Putin reaffirmed that Chechnya was an internal affair of Russia, our country comes out against the policy of double standards with regard to the struggle against international terrorism. The Russian president explained that the al-Qaeda terrorist organisation shielded by the Taliban regime operated in Afghanistan. "All, including Russia, agreed that it is necessary to fight it," Putin said. According to him, the same organisation operated on Chechen territory under the cover of another criminal regime. "We have the right to apply any military means to this regime if juridical ones prove to be ineffective," Vladimir Putin emphasized. He called for keeping in mind that separatists operate on the territory of Chechnya. As the president said, separatists of the same kind operate also in other parts of the world - in Turkey and Europe. "If someone backs these people we will plunge Europe into chaos," Putin said.