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11 May 2004 -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today made a brief surprise visit to Chechnya to honor slain pro-Moscow Chechen President Akhmed-hadji Kadyrov.

Kadyrov was killed in an explosion on 9 May as he attended celebrations marking Victory Day, the end of World War II.

Putin expressed his appreciation of Kadyrov in a cabinet meeting after he returned to Moscow. "He was, of course, a unique man [Kadyrov] -- a man of absolute integrity, decency, and utmost courage," he said. "He never asked for anything for himself. Whenever we met and whatever we talked about, it was always about the interests of the Chechen people. And of course, a people that has such sons cannot but deserve respect."

During his brief visit to Chechnya's capital Grozny today, Putin met with Kadyrov's family.

Putin also told the government today that he ordered more than 1,000 extra Interior Ministry troops to be deployed in Chechnya.

(Reuters/AFP)
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