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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov Says Maskhadov Is Ready to Give Up

Rebel leader Aslan Maskhadov is ready to give up his separatist fight and is trying to make contact with a regional leader to discuss his surrender, First Deputy Chechen Prime Minister Ramzan Kadyrov said Sunday.

"We have serious evidence confirming earlier reports that Maskhadov, directly and indirectly, is trying to establish contacts with a leader of a North Caucasus region in an attempt to inform the federal authorities through mediators that he is prepared to discuss his surrender," Kadyrov said, Interfax reported.

Kadyrov, son of the Kremlin-backed Chechen president who was assassinated in May, said Maskhadov was also demanding personal security guarantees before any surrender.

Kadyrov has repeatedly said that government forces in Chechnya were close to capturing Maskhadov or securing his surrender.

Meanwhile, Maskhadov congratulated U.S. President George W. Bush on winning re-election in a letter posted Friday on a separatist web site, saying the 1776 U.S. Declaration of Independence was an inspiration for the rebels.

In another development, Kadyrov said Monday that Chechen forces have killed 22 rebels, including the suspected organizer of his father's assassination, in an operation in the Vedeno region, 50 kilometers southeast of Grozny. Among those killed was Suleiman Khairulla, whom Kadyrov identified as a lieutenant of Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev.