Putin calls for reducing number of Chechen checkpoints

Opening a 25 February session of the Russian Security Council, President Putin said that military checkpoints in Chechnya are generally ineffective and should be removed where they are not needed, Interfax reported. Putin also demanded that the military strictly observe the law during all security operations. Russian troop commander in Chechnya Lieutenant General Vladimir Moltenskoi issued a decree in March 2002 setting down measures to exclude human rights abuses during search operations, but those orders have been routinely ignored (see "RFE/RL Newsline," 29 March and 3 April 2002). Commenting on Putin's statement, Chechen Security Council Secretary Rudnik Dudaev, who was seriously injured in the 27 December car bombing in Grozny, told Interfax that he considers it expedient to strengthen checkpoints on Chechnya's borders, in the foothills and mountain regions, and anywhere else where increased activity by Chechen fighters is anticipated. LF


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