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Russia: Putin Due In Uzbekistan As Probe Into Moscow Bombing Continues

Moscow, 6 July 2003 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin is due in Uzbekistan today, as an investigation continues into explosions outside of Moscow yesterday that killed two female suicide bombers and at least 14 others. Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov yesterday said a Chechen passport was found on one of the attackers at a rock festival at the Tushino airfield. He said the attacks were likely in response to a decree Putin made on 4 July ordering a presidential election in Chechnya on 5 October.

Putin's special representative for human rights in Chechnya, Abdul-Khakim Sultygov, told Interfax news agency that the suicide attacks will not disrupt the election.

An Uzbek Foreign Ministry spokesman, Ilkhom Zakirov, says Putin will meet Uzbek President Islam Karimov tomorrow to discuss security issues in Central Asia and the situation in Afghanistan. Putin is also due to visit Malaysia and Azerbaijan on his trip.