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Chechen Warlord Basaev Accepts 'Terrorist' Label

Shamil Basaev (file photo) 29 July 2005 -- In an interview broadcast in the United States, Chechen warlord Shamil Basaev has accepted the label of "terrorist" but has said fighting in the separatist republic will not end until every Russian feels the impact of the war.

Basaev made the remarks in an interview with journalist Andrei Babitksy that was broadcast yesterday on ABC's evening news program "Nightline." [Babitsky is a RFE/RL employee.]

Basaev -- the most-wanted man in Russia -- has claimed responsibility for a rebel attack on a school in Beslan in September 2004 in which at least 330 hostages -- half of them children -- died. The separatist leader has also admitted to or been blamed for dozens of other attacks in Chechnya and neighboring regions of southern Russia.

The U.S. program also broadcast a statement from the Russian embassy in Washington that strongly criticized the airing of the interview, saying it had provided a forum for a terrorist.


RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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