The Amnesty International human rights organization is calling on the Russian authorities to investigate a media report that 27 people were summarily executed by security forces in the North Caucasus republic of Chechnya in January.
"The security forces cannot be allowed to get away with torture and murder simply because they wear the badge of the state," Amnesty's Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia Denis Krivocheev was quoted as saying.
The independent Novaya Gazeta reported on July 9 that unnamed sources had provided the paper with the names of the alleged victims and reporters had been unable to ascertain the whereabouts of any of them.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on July 10 that Moscow had seen the reports and "taken them into consideration, as well as the Chechen law enforcement agencies' statement refuting the reports."
He added that "the source of [Novaya Gazeta's] information is unclear, therefore I cannot say anything else to you now."
The alleged victims of the executions were reportedly rounded up during a massive security operation that began in December 2016.
In April, Novaya Gazeta reported that dozens of homosexual men had been rounded up, imprisoned, and abused in Chechnya. Chechen and Russian authorities declined to launch an investigation into that report.
With reporting by Interfax