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10 million dollars for Chechen rebel leaders

Russia has placed a $10 million bounty on the heads of Chechen rebel leaders Shamil Basayev and Aslan Maskhadov, reflecting a growing belief that financial inducements can help to track down the world’s most-wanted men.

The FSB (ex-KGB) security service has accused Basayev and Maskhadov of being behind the Beslan school hostage crisis and offered 300 million rubles for information enabling it to "neutralise" the two.

It joins the US state department in offering huge sums of money in a bid to capture men perceived as being behind terrorist attacks of recent years, notably the 9/11 strikes, reports the Times of India.

According to the Moscow Times, talking tough after recent terrorist attacks killed more than 450 people, General Staff chief Colonel General Yury Baluyevsky said Moscow is ready to destroy terrorists anywhere it finds them.

"As for making pre-emptive strikes at terrorist bases, we will make every effort to liquidate terrorist bases in any region of the world," he told reporters after meeting with NATO's commander for Europe, General James Jones.

"The choice of the means of destruction will depend on the specific situation in this or that region," he said, Interfax reported.

He stressed that nuclear weapons would not be used.

Baluyevsky spoke as Russia demonstrated its nuclear prowess by successfully test-firing two ballistic missiles. The missiles, launched from the Yekaterinburg and Borisoglebsk submarines in the Barents Sea, hit targets on the Kamchatka Peninsula, about 7,000 kilometers to the east, Navy spokesman Igor Dygalo said, Interfax reported.

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