FSB Director Nikolai Patrushev said in televised comments today that the death of radical Chechen field commander Shamil Basayev had opened up a chance for their return to a "peaceful life."
Basayev, who was Russia's most-wanted man, was killed by a truck explosion on July 10 in Ingushetia, in what officials said was a special operation but separatist representatives claimed was an accident.
In a statement on the Internet today, Doku Umarov, the president of the self-declared resistance government, said the "war continues."
He praised Basayev and said the separatists intended to continue until victory.
In a statement to the leaders of the Group of Eight (G8) leading industrialized economies, the Chechen resistance government called on Russia to enter into immediate and unconditional negotiations to end the conflict in the North Caucausus.
(AFP, AP, chechenpress.info)
The aftermath of a December 2002 Chechen resistance attack on the main government building in Grozny (epa)