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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kadyrov Invites Zakayev To Return to Chechnya

Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said he is in talks with senior Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev about Zakayev's possible return to the restive republic following years living in exile in London.

Zakayev, a former foreign minister and deputy prime minister in the Chechen separatist government, has received political asylum in Britain, which refuses to extradite him to Russia, where prosecutors have charged him with terrorism.

"Zakayev wants to return, I talked to him," Kadyrov told Rossiiskaya Gazeta in an interview published Tuesday. "I told him the longer you stay there, the longer special services and other forces will use you against Russia."

Zakayev, a trained stage actor, is "no warrior" and could work in theater management should he return to Chechnya, Kadyrov said.

Zakayev had no immediate comment about the report.

Hundreds of Chechens have fled the republic to Western Europe over the past decade. Last month, a Chechen political refugee in Austria who attempted to sue Kadyrov in the European Court of Human Rights was gunned down in broad daylight on the streets of Vienna.

Several Chechens have been arrested in connection with the slaying of Umar Israilov, who had implicated Kadyrov in torture and murder, according to The New York Times.

Kadyrov dismissed any link to Israilov's slaying, telling Rossiiskaya Gazeta that the murders of Chechens in Europe were committed by the "enemies of Chechnya."

Russia's ambassador in London, meanwhile, said Britain had turned into a "sanctuary" for those seeking to escape justice in Russia.

"We regularly send requests to the appropriate British agencies ... but the situation here is such that the British courts that decide extradition do not even consider these issues, saying they cannot decide to extradite a person who received political asylum here," Ambassador Yury Fedotov told RIA-Novosti.

As a result, Fedotov said, more than 20 people wanted in Russia are "hiding comfortably" and "feel safe" in Britain, with which Russia has no extradition treaty.

Among the Russians who have been granted asylum in Britain is businessman Boris Berezovsky.