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Russia Used 'Deception' To Kill Maskhadov

PRAGUE, March 8, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- Chechen separatist leader Abdul-Khalim Sadulayev accused today the Russian authorities of luring his predecessor Aslan Maskhadov into a fatal trap one year ago.

Sadulayev said Russian authorities "treacherously" killed Maskhadov, having invited him to "talks" and guaranteed his security "at the highest level."

Sadulayev, who is in hiding, made the accusation on March 8 in a statement posted on a Chechen pro-separatist website,

Maskhadov was killed by Russian forces on March 8, 2005 in a village north of Grozny. Russia said at the time he was killed "during an operation led by FSB [security service] special forces."

Maskhadov headed the Chechen separatist forces during the 1994-1996 war. He was elected Chechen president in January 1997.

He was one of the most wanted men in Russia, with Moscow blaming him for a string of deadly attacks on civilian and military targets in Russia.

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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