Kadyrov Motorcade in Deadly Shootout

Tensions escalated in Chechnya on Tuesday after loyalists of Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov and a local commander were locked in a standoff in which four people have already been killed.

Kadyrov's motorcade was speeding along a local highway between the settlements of Argun and Komsomolskoye on Monday, when it almost ran into vehicles transporting servicemen of the Vostok battalion, commanded by Sulim Yamadayev, Rosbalt reported on Tuesday.

The two motorcades would not give way to each other, and some of the vehicles collided, prompting Kadyrov's men and Vostok soldiers first to argue with each other and then to fire shots, RIA-Novosti reported, citing a local law enforcement official.

One member of Kadyrov's security detail and a serviceman of the Vostok battalion died in the shootout, Regnum news agency reported on Tuesday.

Kadyrov got out of his car and personally reasoned with Barudin Yamadayev, a Vostok soldier and Sulim Yamadayev's brother, to end the conflict, Rosbalt reported.

The Vostok soldiers heeded the call and drove away, only to see their base at the Chechen city of Gudermes soon surrounded by police officers and men of the Interior Troops' Sever and Yug battalions.

As of Tuesday afternoon, some 300 armed men were deployed around the Vostok headquarters, with every single Vostok soldier being detained on trying to enter the base, a senior officer of this Defense Ministry unit told Rosbalt.

"If federal authorities do not intervene soon, there could be bloodshed," an unidentified officer said of the standoff, Rosbalt reported.

Moreover, two Vostok servicemen detained by Kadyrov's loyalists have already been killed and their bodies handed over to relatives for burial, the officer told the news agency.

Sources in Kadyrov's retinue would not confirm that there had been any casualties, while local police maintain that only several Vostok soldiers have been detained for refusing to produce ID papers at a checkpoint.

Both local police and the Interior Troops' Sever and Yug battalions are loyal to Kadyrov, while the Vostok and Zapad units report to the Defense Ministry and their commanders are powerful players on the local scene and independent of Kadyrov.

Commander of Vostok Sulim Yamadayev, his brother Barudin -- who is a Vostok serviceman -- and his other brother Ruslan, who is a State Duma deputy, are leaders of a powerful Chechen clan, which is based in Gudermes. Members of this clan joined loyalists of Kadyrov's clan in switching sides during Russia's second military campaign in Chechnya to support the Kremlin.

The security detail of Kadyrov -- who has been trying to assert authority over all law enforcement and security personnel in the republic -- has already staged one high-profile shootout. In 2006, the security details of then-Chechen President Alu Alkhanov and Kadyrov clashed in Chechnya.