Install

Get the latest updates as we post them — right on your browser

. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov, Ex-Rebel Envoy Hold Talks

Chechen President Akhmad Kadyrov met Friday with a former envoy of rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov, in what Kadyrov called a sign of growing normalization in Chechnya.

The meeting in Moscow brought together Kadyrov, who was elected president in October after all his challengers withdrew from the race; Salambek Maigov, who had represented Maskhadov in Moscow and carried out talks on his behalf in foreign capitals; Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, the Kremlin's human rights representative for Chechnya and a top advocate of Russia's policy there; and Khusein Isayev, the chairman of the Chechen State Council that backs Kadyrov.

Kadyrov portrayed the meeting as evidence that the rebels' cause was doomed.

"Maigov is a man who until very recently was Maskhadov's representative; he has recognized Maskhadov's lack of a future and understood that we have to live together, that Chechnya is an inalienable part of Russia," Kadyrov was quoted by Interfax as saying.

Maigov, who is running for the State Duma in Dec. 7 elections, said he and Kadyrov had discussed the humanitarian situation in Chechnya and a future agreement between the federal and Chechen governments setting out their spheres of authority over the region.

Kadyrov also met with President Vladimir Putin and discussed issues including the proposed budget for the region."We've discussed a number of issues, I received support in all of them," Kadyrov told Itar-Tass.

Meanwhile, Colonel Ilya Shabalkin, a spokesman for the federal troops in Chechnya, said Sunday that Maskhadov was giving up the rebels' claim to the lowlands of Chechnya and aiming to reign over a region in the mountains of southern Chechnya, Interfax and Itar-Tass reported. "He is also ready to accept Ichkeria's [Chechnya's] membership in the Russian Federation as an autonomous entity."

Asked to comment on the announcement, Maigov said it was "utopian."

Meanwhile, special forces freed two Chechen prosecutors from captivity, almost a year after they were abducted, Shabalkin said, a spokesman for the federal troops in Chechnya. Interfax said they had been seized in Grozny on Dec. 27, 2002.

Shabalkin told NTV television on Friday that the two were in satisfactory condition after their ordeal. They had been held by "bandits" in the neighboring region of Ingushetia, he said.

 An explosion ripped through a house in Ingushetia on Friday, killing five Interior Ministry soldiers and wounding as many as 10 more.

The blast in the village of Troitskaya went off after the troops had entered the single-story brick house for a security check, said Lieutenant Sergei Kozhemyaka, an Emergency Situations Ministry officer.

Friday's explosion was believed to have been caused by a remote-controlled land mine with a force equivalent to 500 grams of TNT, a member of the investigating team said on condition of anonymity.