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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 17:33 GMT
Chechen leader eyes Georgia raid
Ramzan Kadyrov
Kadyrov said his troops could move quickly on Moscow's orders
A top Moscow-backed official in Chechnya says he is ready to send forces into Georgia to wipe out Chechen separatist rebels alleged to be there.

Ramzan Kadyrov, son of the assassinated Chechen president Akhmad Kadyrov, said Georgia must restore order in the mountainous Pankisi Gorge area.

Mr Kadyrov said Chechnya was "sick and tired of silently watching terrorists being trained and armed" in Pankisi.

Georgia denies Russia's claim that it is harbouring Chechen militants.

'Destroy lairs'

Mr Kadyrov said the Russian-backed authorities in Chechnya did not plan to "rush full-tilt" into Georgia.

But he warned his irregular force, estimated at 2,000 to 4,000 well-armed troops, would move quickly if it was felt necessary to secure Russia's interests.

"Terrorists will be destroyed in their lairs, and in future they will not be allowed to build their nests around Russia," he said.

"If an order comes to destroy terrorists in Pankisi, it will be carried out without delay."

Police operations

He said Georgia's leadership should stop looking to the international community for help and "restore order themselves unless they want others to do it".

Georgian authorities have previously carried out police operations aimed at restoring order in the troubled Pankisi Gorge area.

Mr Kadyrov, 28, is a deputy chairman in the government of Chechnya's newly-elected President Alu Alkhanov, who has the backing of Moscow.

Washington rebuked Russia in 2002 for bombing the Pankisi area without permission from Georgia.

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