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Russia: One Woman Shot During Moscow Hostage Crisis


Moscow, 24 October 2002 (RFE/RL) -- An official from Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has confirmed that a group of Chechen hostage takers in Moscow shot and killed a woman in a theater they seized last night. The official, Sergei Ignatienko, did not identify the woman. The ITAR-TASS news agency says the victim apparently was shot last night shortly after the Chechen group seized the theater.

The Chechen separatist website kavkaz.org said the woman was shot as she tried to enter the theater building. The hostage takers mistook her for police.

Several Russian members of parliament held talks with the hostage takers earlier. One of the deputies, Irina Khakamada, said the Chechens told her that from now on they would only negotiate with representatives from the Russian government. Another deputy, Iosef Kobzon, said the Chechens were not going to release any more hostages.

The Chechen group holding several hundred people captive inside the building and demanding Russia pull its troops out of Chechnya. Earlier, the Chechen militants released more than 50 hostages, including 15 children.

Meanwhile, the leader of Russia's liberal Yabloko party, Grigorii Yavlinskii, has cut short his trip in Siberia and is returning to Moscow to negotiate with Chechen terrorists. The terrorists have demanded to negotiate with Yavlinskii.

At the theater in Moscow, the terrorists earlier today released five more people: an elderly British man, a woman, and her three children. They were released after the famous Russian singer Iosef Kobzon spoke with the terrorists.

The terrorists have asked for foreign doctors to come and care for their hostages. There is no report anyone is in need in of medical attention inside the theater.

The terrorists have warned that they will kill 10 hostages if any hostage takers are shot.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said today the terrorists planned the attack from outside the territory of Russia. Putin said the main goal now is the safe release of the hostages: "The main goal of our law enforcement agencies and special services in planning and conducting any operations should be freeing the hostages with the maximum ensurance of their safety."

The terrorists are demanding that Russian troops withdraw from Chechnya within one week.

For information on the leader of the hostage-taking crisis see: "Who is Mosvar Baraev?"

For the transcript of an RFE/RL interview with Yelena Bonner and her views of the hostage situation and the war in Chechnya, please see: "A Conversation With Yelena Bonner"

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