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Last Updated: Monday, 21 March, 2005, 23:57 GMT
Warsaw's Dudayev move irks Moscow
Djokhar Dudayev
Moscow regards Djokhar Dudayev as a terrorist
Russia has strongly criticised Warsaw officials for naming a roundabout in the Polish capital after assassinated Chechen rebel leader Djokhar Dudayev.

A statement by the Russian foreign ministry said the plan by the Warsaw city council "causes indignation".

It said the move was "an insult to the memory of the Russian victims of terror attacks... and an effective show of support for international terrorism".

The Chechen rebel leader was killed by a Russian missile in 1996.

Relations between Poland and Russia have recently been strained over Chechnya.

Two weeks ago Poland caused anger in Moscow by describing the killing of another Chechen separatist leader, Aslan Maskhadov, by Russian forces as a "crime".

'Unfriendly step'

The roundabout which has caused the problem is rather unassuming and located on the outskirts of the Polish capital, the BBC's Adam Easton in Warsaw says.

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Warsaw's conservative city councillors voted in favour of the plan last week.

Russia regards Dudayev as a terrorist.

Its statement said: "Even though the initiative in this case belonged to forces in opposition to the current Polish leadership, we must admit that it has become the latest chain in the link of unfriendly steps towards our country."

Warsaw mayor Lech Kaczynski denied the charge, saying in effect that it was none of Russia's business.

Ties between Moscow and Warsaw have often been difficult since the fall of communism in 1989 which ended decades of Soviet domination over the Poles.

Meanwhile Maskhadov's successor, Abdul-Khalim Sadullayev, hailed Warsaw's decision.

"You wrote his [Dudayev's] name in the history of the heroic struggle of the Polish people and of the Chechen people, who have several centuries of experience in the struggle for freedom... from the Russian empire," Mr Sadullayev said in a statement posted on a rebel website - kavkazcenter.com.


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