Putin refuses talks with Chechens, will respond through "legality and toughness"

Russian President Vladimir Putin rejected the possibility of negotiations with Chechen rebels at a news conference Thursday, equating the rebels' terrorist actions with those of Osama Bin Laden. The news comes as a disappointment to Western leaders who have pushed Moscow to find a peaceful solution to Chechen separatism, and who irked Putin by urging the Russian government to look to the root causes of the recent school-time hostage taking in Beslan. Putin called the rebels part of the "terrorist internationale" who could only be dealt with through "legality and toughness." Reuters has more. For more on Russia's recent hostage crisis in Beslan from JURIST's Paper Chase, click here.

UPDATE: An English-language transcript of President Putin's news conference is now online here from the Kremlin.

 

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