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Russia To Seek Help Against Militants

12 September 2004 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov today said that his country will revamp its security forces and seek international help in hunting down armed militants suspected of plotting terrorist attacks against its interests.

In an interview with Russia's NTV television channel, Ivanov also defended Moscow's right to carry preemptive strikes on suspected terrorist bases abroad.

He said recent militant attacks -- including the Beslan hostage crisis that left at least 330 people dead in North Ossetia -- had been "carefully planned" and funded by "very powerful financial forces."

Russian President Vladimir Putin last week criticized the country's security forces over the Beslan tragedy. Yesterday he sacked North Ossetian Interior Minister Kazbek Dzantiev and the regional head of Russia's FSB security service, Valerii Andreev.

Dzantiev was replaced today by Soslan Sikoev. No replacement has been made yet for Andreev.


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