Kadyrov Says He's Urging Zakayev to Return Home

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov is in talks with senior Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev about Zakayev's possible return to the restive republic following years living in exile in London, Rossiiskaya Gazeta quoted Kadyrov as saying Tuesday.

Zakayev, a former foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the Chechen separatist government, has received political asylum in Britain, which refuses to extradite him to Russia, where prosecutors have charged him with terrorism.

"Zakayev wants to return, I talked to him," Kadyrov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview. "I told him the longer you stay there, the longer [foreign] special services and other forces will use you against Russia."

Zakayev, a trained stage actor, is "no warrior" and could work in theater management should he return to Chechnya, Kadyrov told the government daily.

Hundreds of Chechens have fled the war-scarred republic to Western Europe over the past decade. Last month, a Chechen political refugee in Austria who attempted to sue Kadyrov in the European Court of Human Rights was gunned down in broad daylight on the streets of Vienna.

Several Chechens have been arrested in connection with the slaying of Umar Israilov, who had implicated Kadyrov in torture and murder, according to the New York Times, which conducted extensive interviews with Israilov before his death.

Kadyrov dismissed speculation that he may have been behind Israilov's slaying, telling Rossiiskaya Gazeta that the murders of Chechens in Europe are committed by the "enemies of Chechnya."

Russia's ambassador in London, meanwhile, said in an interview Tuesday that Britain had turned into a "sanctuary" for those seeking to escape justice in Russia.

"We regularly send requests to the appropriate British agencies … but the situation here is such that the British courts that decide extradition do not even consider these issues, saying they cannot decide to extradite a person who received a political asylum here," Ambassador Yury Fedotov told RIA-Novosti.

As a result, Fedotov said, more than 20 people wanted in Russia are "hiding comfortably" and "feel safe" in Britain, with which Russia has no extradition treaty.

Among Russians who have been granted political asylum in Britain is businessman Boris Berezovsky, a former ally of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who turned into one of Putin's most vocal critics.