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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechnya's U.S. Talks 'Immoral'

Ilyas Akhmadov, foreign minister of the separatist Chechen leadership, has met with a senior U.S. official in Washington for talks that Russia on Tuesday denounced as "immoral."

Akhmadov said that he met Monday with John Beyrle, the acting U.S. special adviser for newly independent states. It was unclear what they had discussed.

The Foreign Ministry blasted the United States on Tuesday, saying it was not standing up against terrorism.

"Offering a solemn welcome to the envoy of the Chechen fighters, the new U.S. administration showed with its trademark 'decisiveness' on what side of the international struggle against terrorism it stands," the Foreign Ministry said.

The meeting took place in the midst of the worst spy dispute between Washington and Moscow since the Cold War, in which they traded expulsions of 50 diplomats, and days after three explosions in southern Russia killed 23 people.

Akhmadov reiterated the separatists' denial of organizing the blasts, but the Foreign Ministry statement was stinging in its condemnation of the rebels and Washington.

"Such a step by a great civilized power would have looked unnatural in the past. The latest bloody crimes by the Chechen terrorists in Stavropol region allow one to describe this Washington 'show' as simply immoral," the Foreign Ministry said.

The State Department condemned the bombings Monday.

Kremlin spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky said the meeting showed America's "double standards" on terrorism.

"The U.S. State Department managed to receive Akhmadov and condemn the terrorist acts on the same day," Yastrzhembsky was quoted by Interfax as saying.

"[Chechen President Aslan] Maskhadov in my view has no political power at this time and no authority with the bandit groups. What do we have to talk about with him? Nothing," Yastrzhembsky said on Ekho Moskvy radio.

Akhmadov said he had little hope that Russia was ready to sit round the negotiating table with the rebel government.

"There is no sign that the Russians are ready to stop the war," he said. "Every day in Chechnya, hundreds of civilians are dying, and every day, Russian soldiers are dying."

(Reuters, AP)