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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia Jabs At Western Criticisms

The Foreign Ministry complained Thursday that some Western countries were jeopardizing international unity against terrorism by criticizing military action against Chechen hostage-takers.

"Some people are trying clumsily to add to the overall political context of Chechnya with determined attempts to advise the Russian authorities on how to deal with an internal problem," ministry spokesman Grigory Karasin told a news conference.

"There can be no double standard in fighting terrorism, which threatens all countries. Clear, coordinated steps are needed from the international community and unambiguous denunciations of it wherever it occurs and whoever commits it."

Karasin declined to say which countries he had in mind. But he did cite a list of countries -- including Britain, France, Norway and Turkey -- that had denounced the seizure of hostages by separatist Chechen gunmen.

In Paris, a press watchdog group accused Russian forces Thursday of opening fire to scare away foreign journalists and unleashing attack dogs on them while they were covering clashes between security forces and Chechen rebels.

Reporters sans Frontieres (Reporters without Borders) wrote to President Boris Yeltsin that in the past few days troops had opened fire to scare away a reporter for The New York Times.

Police dogs had bitten a reporter for another U.S. daily, The Christian Science Monitor, and a cameraman for ABC television, the group said.

The France-based media defense group said a crew from the British-based WTN television news agency was arrested and its camera and equipment seized.

Journalists were systematically barred by security forces from approaching the southern Russian village of Pervomaiskoye, the focus of a ferocious battering by Russian forces trying to end a hostage siege, the group said.

"RSF protests against these blatant attempts by Russian forces to prevent journalists from carrying out their task and asks you to do everything to lift the blackout imposed by security forces," the group said in its message to Yeltsin.