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Russia Threatens to Strike Terrorists Worldwide - 2004-09-09


There has been mixed international reaction to Russia's threat to launch pre-emptive strikes against terrorists in the wake of last week's school hostage crisis.

The Chief of the Russian General Staff, Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky, said Wednesday the Kremlin will take steps to wipe out terrorist bases anywhere in the world.

A European Union spokeswoman said the EU wants to hear directly from Russian President Vladimir Putin about the matter. The EU has in the past said pre-emptive strikes are too risky.

Britain called the Russian policy understandable and acceptable under international law. And a White House official told the French News Agency every country has a right to defend itself.

Russia is targeting Chechen separatist leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev. It blames both of them for the Beslan hostage crisis, which left more than 360 people dead. The Kremlin has offered a 10-million dollar reward for information leading to their capture.

A Maskhadov spokesman denied involvement in the hostage taking.

Information for this report is provided by AP and AFP.

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