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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

01/09/1998

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Kulikov's Chechnya Rhetoric Stirs Fury

Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov, who said this week that Russia should launch ""pre-emptive strikes"" against ""bandits"" in Chechnya, appeared to backtrack Thursday in the face of uproar from Chechen officials and his own Cabinet colleagues. In a statement reminiscent of the hawkish rhetoric that preceded Russia's disastrous 1994 invasion of Chechnya, Kulikov said Tuesday that ""we have the right to launch pre-emptive strikes at bandit strongholds wherever they are situated, including in Chechen territory."" ""Life shows that bandits do not understand anything else and they need to be destroyed,"" Interfax quoted Kulikov as saying. He added that he would make his opinion clear to President Boris Yeltsin. Kulikov's spokesman tried to soften the remarks Thursday, however, saying the interior minister was quoted out of context.

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