TO START ANTI-TERROR OFFENSIVE
July 5, 2006
MOSCOW -- Russian President
Vladimir Putin asked parliament yesterday for the right to send soldiers and special forces anywhere in the world to fight
terrorists, acting just days after having pledged to "destroy" the terrorists who killed five Russian diplomats in Iraq.
Moscow confirmed early last week that terrorists had killed four abducted diplomats, beheading two of
them in an Internet video, after Russia refused their demand to leave the
breakaway republic of Chechnya.
A fifth diplomat was killed during the abduction June 3.
security services last week offered a $10 million reward for the capture of the Islamic insurgents responsible for the killings.
to a Kremlin statement, Mr. Putin yesterday went to the upper house of parliament, known as the Federation Council, to make
his dramatic bid.
Kremlin said he had requested the right to defend "the human rights and freedoms of citizens, the sovereignty of the Russian
Federation, its independence and state integrity," by using security forces outside Russia.
the constitution, Mr. Putin must get permission from the Federation Council, which usually does his bidding, before sending
Council Speaker Sergei Mironov had said two days ago that the chamber was ready to authorize Mr. Putin to use special forces
and the agents of the GRU army intelligence service outside Russia.
Putin did not say the troops would be sent to Iraq.
Nor was it clear whether the United States would object to Russian forces
operating in the country or welcome any assistance in dealing with insurgents who for three years have kept Iraq on the edge of chaos.
kidnapping of the Russians was claimed by the Mujahedeen Shura Council, an umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq and also was responsible for the killing of two abducted
American soldiers late last month.
captors had demanded that Russia withdraw all its troops from Chechnya, a demand that Moscow
open microphone last week caught a spat over the killings between Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Russian Foreign
Minister Sergei Lavrov during a foreign minister's meeting in Moscow.
Mr. Lavrov had wanted an official statement to declare that international forces in Iraq should do more to protect diplomats, while Miss Rice argued that diplomats
should not be singled out for special attention.