“Chechen Rebel Admits He Is Terrorist, Says He Plans More Attacks to End Russian War in Chechnya” From AP, with thanks to the One Who Must Not Be Named.
NEW YORK – The Chechen rebel leader who organized a deadly hostage-taking attack on a Russian school last year admitted he was a terrorist but said in an interview being broadcast Thursday that each Russian had to feel the impact of war before it would stop in Chechnya.
Shamil Basayev, linked to a dozen deadly attacks on civilians, also said he was plotting more. “I’m making plans. We’re always looking for new ways,” he said on ABC News’ “Nightline.”
The Kremlin denounced the network’s decision to run the interview, which was conducted by well-known Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky.
The interview “runs counter to the spirit of Russian-American partnership in our joint fight against the global threat of terrorism,” said the Russian statement, also broadcast by “Nightline.”
Basayev, who has a $10 million bounty on his head and rarely speaks to journalists, was interviewed in his Chechen hideout by Babitsky, who said the rebels live in primitive conditions, eating mainly “instant soups and canned food” and sleeping on barren ground.
Despite the hardships, Basayev struck a defiant note. “The Chechen people are more dear to me than the rest of the world. You get that?” he said.
“I admit, I’m a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist … but what would you call them?” he said of the Russians. “If they are the keepers of constitutional order, if they are anti-terrorists, then I spit on all these agreements and nice words.”
Basayev claimed responsibility for the 2004 school attack in which gunmen held more than 1,000 hostages for nearly three days in the Russian town of Beslan. The raid ended in gunfire and explosions, killing more 330 people, mostly children.
“It’s not the children who are responsible,” Basayev said. But he added: “Responsibility is with the whole Russian nation… If the war doesn’t come to each of them individually, it will never stop in Chechnya.”
Asked if a Belsan-type attack could occur again, Basayev said: “Of course … As long as the genocide of the Chechen nation continues, as long as this mess continues, anything can happen.”…