We discussed your reaction to the violent end of the siege in our global phone-in, Talking Point.
Russia will pay 300m roubles ($10 m) for information leading to the arrest of Chechen rebel leaders Aslan Maskhadov and Shamil Basayev.
The men have been accused of involvement in the Beslan school massacre.
Meanwhile, dramatic video footage from inside the school in Beslan during the siege has been aired on Russian television.
It shows adults and children packed into the school gymnasium as heavily-armed, masked men walk around the room.
Beslan is preparing to bury more of the at least 326 people who died on the last day of the siege.
What should President Putin do now? Should Russia maintain its hard-line policy towards Chechnya? Send us your views
The following comments reflect the balance of opinion we have received so far:
Do the TV programmes not realise that they are now doing the terrorists job for them by showing the footage. By doing this they are effectually working for the terrorists spreading the word on their behalf. It seems to me that the way to beat terrorism would be not to report on it, don't give them the coverage they want for their causes, that way there would be little point in their actions.
Angela South, South Wales
Putin must make it known that once any political movement joins forces with terrorists they have forfeited any and all legitimacy for their cause. I would hope all Western leaders would also support this position.
Rebecca, Pleasanton, CA, USA
I agree with Putin rejecting talks with the Chechens. Nobody asked the US to talk to the Taliban after the 9/11 attacks. Why should he? This is exactly what happened to the Serbs with Albanian Muslim separatists. All separatists need to get the message that there is no support from the international community through acts of violence.
Patricia, Youngstown, USA
I think that Putin has disclosed as much information about the investigation as the current security situation allows. The rest has to be fully opened to the Duma commissions. This is crucial for restoration of citizen society as a basic ingredient of Russia security. Afterwards, developments will accept own logic and not just military, police or bureaucratic ones.
The footage was sickening, purely sickening. The hostage takers were human beings once, something has made them this way. What makes it worse now is that Putin, who has already painted himself into the tough guy corner now has decided to go after the wrong Chechen groups and cut himself off from any political solution. Be prepared for more violence on both sides and more equally sickening images. The spiral of violence, sadly seems unlikely to abate.
Shahid, London, UK
If Putin offered an 'open door' to listen and examine Chechen or other groups' concerns perhaps future atrocities could be avoided
Andrew B, Weymouth England
Anyone reading this tragedy over the last days could have imagined the horror inside that school. We didn't need to see the video. It is a gross invasion of the privacy of the survivors and the dead.
Richard, Wisbech, UK
After seeing this footage it is clear that no matter what the authorities had done, that violence was always going to be a part of the terrorist's action. Their treatment of the children in particular showed they had no feelings for them, and that killing people was not a problem for them. I grow angry at the criticism of authorities, when those truly responsible for the violence are ignored. Yes maybe the security forces could have done better, but what about those terrorists who you see wiring up the room with children all around them. We try to appear so civilised, and show shock and horror at extremists violence. Then accuse authorities for using violence to try and stop a situation.
I'm shocked at the way British mass media is portraying this situation and at the choice of comments from Russian citizens. It is not the time to discredit the Russian president; it is time to unite international forces against the terrorism threat. I must admit, I did not vote for Mr Putin. Nevertheless, right now he is doing everything humanly possible to resolve the situation. Why, when 9/11 happened, there were no fingers pointing at Bush's administration as being at fault? Why the double standards of morale?
Katya, London, UK
Today there are rallies and condemnation of the deaths inside Russian territory, but where were these rallies and demonstrations during the siege of Groznyy and the thousands of innocents that lost their lives in the Chechen war? There weren't any. Not because the Russian people don't care, or don't value Chechen lives, but because they don't know about the war. They don't see the same pictures we see, or hear the same stories we do. The first victim of any war is the truth. Whether it be the war in Chechnya, or the Iraqi sanctions killing millions, there are some pictures and stories which will never reach the public of the offending nations. Since it is people who are dying, and not the rulers, let the people know what is going on, and let the people decide the way to peace. That used to be called democracy, today it is a naive Utopia.
Ibrahim, London, England, UK
This is perhaps the toughest job a leader can take on. I disapprove of these people who weigh in with malice and simple minded answers to complex problems. This is between the Russian people and whoever they deem the threat. That was what America asked for in our time of need and I stand behind whatever Russia states is the problem.
Terrorists may hide behind legitimate agendas but there HAS to be some sense of order to the world or we are lost. Something must be done to stop this.
To all of you giving advice here on what Russia should do, i.e. giving independence to Chechnya, you show your complete and persistent ignorance of the history of this conflict, of recent world history and what the facts are on the ground. You only want to believe what you want to believe and ignore everything else. Putin was right in criticising the West and suggesting that you should negotiate with Osama Bin Laden yourselves. The West has a double standard and is both afraid of and arrogant towards Russia.
Yevgeni, Moscow, Russia
I think that Putin should declare an all out war on those who did this and those who support them. But he should stay focused, unlike Bush in the US, he should make sure that he goes after those responsible, and not let his dislike of another leader cause unnecessary deaths.
Timothy Taylor, Philadelphia, Pa
Putin should grant Chechnya independence and treat the country with respect. Russia will not do this though and the reason is oil. Oil and gas are the only reasons that the US is interested in Iraq and why Russia is so interested in holding on to an insignificant country in a backwater portion of the world and universe.
Putin should grant the Chechens independence at once. The "territorial integrity" of the Russian state is not a God-given right, since Russia as we know it has been created over centuries by tyrants who oppressed countless nations. The Chechen nation has always fought the Imperial oppressors, whether they were Tsars, Communists or Post-Soviet leaders. The Chechen people are a sovereign nation in the true sense in that they have a shared language, religion, ethnic affiliation and culture. Russia must entertain the possibility of Chechen independence. If not, the resistance will continue - in all kinds of legitimate and illegitimate forms.
Lawrence, Brussels, Belgium
Free people of the world must understand that we are in a global struggle of a totalitarian point of view, shrouded in Islam, that uses terror, kidnappings, mass murder, bombings, beheadings and other forms of barbaric homicide as a tool to intimidate the free and establish an Islamist world.
Brad, Chicago, USA
Mr. Putin should do what America told them to do after 911. Joining us, and fight terror. Same goes for all other countries who think they are immune to terror attacks simply because they appease terrorists. Russia, welcome to reality.
Joe Grande, Sacramento, CA
Putin should do all that he and his government can do to restore confidence in the Russian people and avoid a chain reaction that seems to be gaining a critical mass of enormous proportions. He should break the backs of the Chechen rebels with all the might of his country and forget about the "human rights" of bandits. No kid gloves, answer fire with fire unless they surrender. Learn from Uganda's "Iron Fist Operation" against the so-called " 'Lord's' Resistance Army (LRA)" terrorists who have killed thousands in North Uganda and taken hostage thousands of other Ugandans.
Harrison, Kampala, Uganda
Rather than being honest with the Russian people, Putin's response to this tragedy has been to use it to aid his political stance by claming, without justification, that it was the work of international - rather than Chechen - terrorists. I urge the Russian people to throw out this shameful man at the earliest opportunity.
Alexander Muir, London, UK
Do not fight terror. Don't say the "war on terror." Fight the cause of the terror.
Ozla Chavadua, Yugoslavia
Putin needs to rethink the Russian strategy in Chechnya entirely. After ten years of heavy-handed tactics, we see that Russia is not safer, and that the number and ferocity of terrorist attacks has actually increased. Russian troops commit regular human rights violations in Chechnya, and the silence of western governments on this topic has helped foreign Islamic militants to gain a foothold in the province. Here are three practical steps Putin can take to improve the situation:
1: Stop committing human rights violations in Chechnya. This will give Chechens less motivation to become militant.
2. Work towards true democracy and order in Chechnya, rather than simply placing Kremlin stooges in positions of power.
3. Hold talks with rebel leaders. Not all of them are terrorists, and some have expressed a willingness to negotiate.
By refusing to talk with the moderate Chechens, Putin ensures a continuation of the conflict. Unfortunately, all indications are that Putin will continue with the same failed policies, which will only serve to foment further tragedy for Russians and Chechens alike.
Our hearts and prayers are with the people of Russia and the people of Chechnya. Terrorist anywhere must not be allowed to "win", for it brings loss to us all.
Cary Huether, Spokane USA
What Putin should do is to introduce zero tolerance to separatists. To spend extra gain from oil bucks on tightening security is real and is just a matter of political will. You may call it back to totalitarism but I am afraid you would be right only as long as such horrible events did not happen on your land.
Vladimir, St Petersburg, Russia
To Vladimir, St Petersburg, Russia: We, Americans, have had more tragic terrorist attacks on our soil (WTC, Pentagon etc), and yet we have not responded by introducing totalitarism to the US or curtailing freedom of the media like you did. We have reacted by improving security procedures and coordination among the law enforcement and intelligence community. It works! We haven't had a single terrorist attack in the US in the last three years! (not that terrorists haven't tried!) So Putin should not look for any excuses to take away from the Russian people the last remaining basic freedoms and rights.
Mirek Kondracki, Alexandria, VA, USA
Avoiding ethnic prejudice is critical at this point. We must all understand that those criminals are not some spirited freedom-fighters, they are plain bandits on plain "salaries" with plain goals. Spurring inter-ethnic violence is one of them. Knowing that there were Arabs and even Russians in the Beslan gang, I'm 100% sure that Chechens as a nation cannot be blamed for this horrible act. Here in Moscow I see many Chechens who spit in the face of those "jackals" who cover up their bloody actions by noble aims.
Zoya, Moscow, Russia
Even if Chechens are perceived by Putin and some Russian people as terrorists/murderers and public enemies nr 1, the wise thing to do now is to start negotiating with them. Just now, after this tragedy happened. The question is not who's right and who's wrong. The goal is to try to stop cruel things to happen on both sides. The Brits done with IRA and they solved the problem. Wasn't IRA a terrorist organization? Murdering innocent people, women, kids? Extremists are always a marginal part of every nation, but putting to much pressure on Chechen nation just causes everyone become extremist.
Krzysztof, Warszawa, Poland
These deaths are terrible but not unexpected. Putin will find it difficult to talk to the separatists but I would rather people talk than die.
It is not the time to discredit the Russian president; it is time to unite international forces against the terrorism threat.
I must admit, I did not vote for Mr Putin. Nevertheless, right now he is doing everything humanly possible to resolve the situation.
Katya, London, UK
Putin should order an inquiry into the details of the events as they unfolded, and he has said this will take place. It should not be open to the public so as to avoid revealing security measures, but the world would like to see a summary of the findings. Putin should also revamp the security forces and ruthlessly go after the savage militants to their core and wipe them out. I just hope the Russians and the rest of the world don't have to turn schools into armed fortresses to prevent this from happening again.
Jeremy, Atlanta, USA
Putin shouldn't enter talks with separatists, because this would be a victory for not only terrorism in Russia, but through out the world. Stand fast Putin, show these terrorists Russia won't bend to their demands!
Dain, Washington DC, USA
A worldwide approach to combating terrorism should be developed -- perhaps the "Terror Opposition Doctrine". All nations opposed to terrorism should come together to develop the doctrine. A worldwide response to terrorism should be developed and followed.
Andrea, NY, USA
What happened in Beslan could well happen anywhere on the planet given the current problems with worldwide terrorism. Until the world stands united against terrorism in all its forms, this scene could be repeated any number of places..
Putin is in a difficult position. I don't think he will react like Bush, blowing anyone that moves to bits, as he is more intelligent and compassionate. The only way we will ever end such conflicts worldwide is by eliminating the factors that create divisions. e.g. religion, politics and capitalism. Will that ever happen? No. There will never ever be peace.
S Barton, Colchester, UK
It's difficult to see how deaths could have been avoided given that the kidnappers were on a suicide mission.
John M, Lyne Meads, UK
I'm numb with the thought of the pain the people of Beslan are suffering, and will continue to suffer for years to come.
Evanna, Brussels, Belgium
It is a very sad time for humanity but it will be even sadder if there is retaliation that results in even more innocent people suffering and dying. What needs to be attacked is that which is making certain minorities in the world hate so much that they carry out these kinds of terrorist acts.
David, Crawley, UK
Rest in peace, little angels... No words can express the sorrow and the pain of this horrible outcome of the school siege.
Surely this indescribably cruel act will generate within all Russia, a hatred for the Chechens that will last for generations. A hatred that will grow in intensity with each re-telling of the story. If so, then Chechnya has very little to look forward to as a result of this outrage.
Peter, Welwyn, England
Terrorism is the cancer of civilisation. It destroys from the inside, when the very people who make up the society start to take it apart. Like cancer it needs a different treatment. The "strength and determination" of a president does not work in this case. While the politicians are playing with guns the cancer grows. We now have reached a critical point. The West and Arab countries must put aside their differences and find a common way forward.
Vladimir, London, UK
On visiting Vienna for the Austria v England qualifier the true horror of what happened in Russia came to light as everywhere we went people were united in discussing there outrage at what had happened. You realise the scale and shock felt throughout the world when people come together and unite to support a terror act thousands of miles from home. Our thoughts and prayers are with all the families involved.
Peter Smith, London
My own grandchildren have just gone back to school and the thought of them in the same appalling evil situation is more than a human being can bear. My deepest sympathies go out to the families at this dreadful time
A. Rice, Three Rivers, USA
My deepest sorry to all those people. Violence is not the answer to solve any problem. Rest in peace..........
Santiago Selles, Republic of Panama
I feel deep sorrow over what happened in Russia. Those victims, living or dead, bear the consequences of political conflict which they did not participate in. I just want to say although being so far away from the tragic scene, I am strongly affected by the pain. How I wish there can be a peaceful resolution to the conflict!
Wei-Hui Chen, Taipei, Taiwan
What happened in Beslan is not a matter of lack of humanity. It has nothing to do with humanity or religion. It has everything to do with politics. From the first shot fired in the Chechen conflict until the last shot fired at Beslan, everything had to do with politics. Get the politicians out and you'll solve all world conflicts including that in the Middle East. This bloody episode will echo in the minds of those who witness it in eternity.
Terrorists want power. They call it independence or unification or separatism or nationalism. Their acts prove them as the worst people to have power over anyone or anything. God help the Chechens if people like this get political power in their land.
How exactly is this kind of thing supposed to help the Chechen cause? Proving you can blow up children doesn't equal a right to independence.
Sam, Antwerp, Belgium
Nothing can ever warrant the use of children as a tool in politics or war, whichever the perpetrators want to call it. Those who do so have lost their souls.
Sue Eaves, Warrington, Cheshire
It is hypocrisy not to name the hostage takers or Chechen separatists by their true name. And that name is terrorists.
M Stojkovic, Belgrade, Serbia
Terrorism has broken loose and the world must fight it to attain peace. That is why I support the re-election of President Bush. Negotiation with a terrorist gives him a place in the world order.
Emmanuel Onuoha, Owerri, Nigeria
It is time the moderate Muslims of the world took some action against their extremists.
Mike Jones, Lusaka, Zambia
It is a hellish situation when the most innocent and vulnerable of society become the victims of a war. Important to note that it is also a war they are not yet old enough to be conscripted into. No-one can justify the hostage taking that occurred in the Beslan school or the mayhem that followed. We must however try to understand what has driven these people to act with pure cruelty and without remorse towards a group of children. Only then can a real dialogue develop and a political solution be found. Nobody is born with a desire to kill their neighbour.
Neil Waldron, Dublin, Ireland
Are George Bush et al going to invade Chechnya to fight the evildoers? And if not, why not? Oh how I would love to hear the answer to that question.
Alex Gibb, Longmont, Colorado, USA
Words can't say enough on this issue - but one thing came to mind thinking about the poor families burying their loved ones - it's this poem.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the mornings hush, I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight; I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die.
L Fletcher, Norfolk, England
Pray for the kids. They are our future. There is no difference between Chechen, Russian, or Iraqi children. To murderers: this time you burn a beast which will defeat you at last. To the western press: please, do not change the colours, let black be black and white be white.
I'd imagine that this evil act has made Chechen independence almost inconceivable for many years. I believe the only solution to terrorism is political (as in Northern Ireland), but each terrible act makes that harder to start.
I would like to render great thanks to the people of the UK who sincerely mourn together with us these days. Thank you for the flowers at the Russian Embassy. Thank you for your help. And let me address you, people of the UK, with a cry full of pain: do not support these people killing our children? We need support from you. Please stop this double-standard policy. If you speak about human rights, let us protect our children. Please think about it.
Julia, Moscow, Russia
My own children went back to school this September 1. I cannot imagine the horror of the parents and children involved in what has happened in Russia. Sadly, I don't believe that any other outcome was possible. Regardless of what the terrorists had asked for, to give in would have opened every school on earth to similar attacks. And even if the Russian government had accepted the demands, there was no way that the terrorists could or would have left the school peacefully - the terrorists had the blood of children on their souls before the first drop was shed.
Lorraine MacNeil, Edmonton, Alberta
Killing woman and children is just not acceptable no matter what your objective. An eye for an eye does not apply to children. I'm not sure what is more depressing, seeing these desperate acts of terrorism or seeing world leaders trying to prove it exists to get a vote instead of helping the situation. People should learn by now that violence is not solved using violence.
Jutiar, Baghdad, Iraq
Our hearts and prayers are with Russia. Such tragedy. People involved with this incident have a lifetime to go through with such horrible memories. How did we get here? Who are these people and what madness is this? There is a problem that is shouting for attention, and it is time to solve this madness with pragmatism.
Sanaya Hoon, New York, USA
Our hearts bleed for the Russian people. May God bless you in your hours of sorrow. May those that thrive on harming the innocent rot in hell. Terrorists and those that aid them must be hunted down and killed. Our freedoms are in the balance. Mr. Putin did well, as the majority of those in the school are still alive - it could have been much worse had the terrorists levelled the building before the troops could get in.
Dave, Peoria, Illinois USA
We at the United Nations in Manhattan feel anguish for those that have suffered and died through this horrible ordeal. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of the Russian people as they persevere through this difficult situation.
James, United Nations HQ, New York
Being a Muslim, I condemn this act. I don't think they are from us (Muslims) - they must have their own religion in which killing of innocent life is right. My wife always tells me we have to delete people we don't like from our memories. I wish I could delete these people from my religion.
Shahid Wazir, Virginia USA
If those people wanted to get world's attention support for their cause, they have done a disfavour to their cause. If they are capable of treating babies and children that way, imagine what they would do in their own, independent state.
Marcos Somer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
No cause just or otherwise can justify the taking of innocent life. The thoughts of every decent person will be with the hostages and their families.
Chris Botham, Oxford
Our deepest prayers and sympathies go out to the families of the victims and to the soldiers and their families. This is a depraved, despicable act of savagery. I personally applaud the soldiers decision to advance when they determined the situation called for it. The death toll surely would have been much higher had they waited.
Eric, Los Angeles, California, USA
I would never condone the acts of any terrorists and would hope that all those involved in terrorism were quickly and harshly dealt with. However surely the Russians must be able to see that it would be better to lose a small state than a single child's life.
Soldier Steve, London UK
I have no doubt that the Muslim world will feel revulsion that these beasts should use the name of Allah while torturing and murdering children. It is not Islam which is at fault, nor Chechnya. It is these murderous animals who have lost any vestige of humanity to the point that they are blind to the utter, utter wickedness of such a slaughter of the innocents and the impossibility that it might in any way further their cause. They actually retard their own cause, because how could any concessions be made which might lead any other terrorist faction to suppose that this might be a useful strategy?
Frances, Bristol, UK
It's an awful tragedy yes. But before we all start moralising and lamenting lets just consider why a group of people are willing to blow up a school full of young children. What has driven them to this utter desperation? Russia and the rest of the world must begin to realise that their brutal subjugation and exploitation of weaker, vulnerable peoples will ultimately exact a terrible price. Violence is cyclical. It is hoped that Putin and his people will begin to appreciate the very basic concept of cause and effect.
Salmaan Ahmed, Luton, England
I am not sure which is more appalling, the people that would kill so many children after giving them no food or water for nearly three days and stripping them naked, or those who excuse this evil act as that of people wanting independence. There is nothing that can excuse such a horrible act of committing such torture upon children.
Debora Gerads, Saipan, Northern Marianna Islands
I'm sorry for the children and I am sure that while Russia is weak these acts will continue. Police corruption and corruption of other federal services are the reason for it. Nobody wants to join the army - people couldn't care less about it. Russia needs a powerful and honest government and only then will terrorists be defeated.
Igor, St Petersburg, Russia
The tragedy leaves more questions. There will hardly be one right answer. But I think one answer I have - we all, every one of us is a contributor to what is happening in the world. Do we know the world we live in? Do we care about the Kurds fleeing their homes, the Sudanese escaping genocide, the Ethiopians dying from hunger, the Iraqi and Afghans running away from air raids, the Palestinian children fighting tanks? Have we ever thought of all the victims of the terrorist acts in Moscow, New York, Jerusalem, Bali, Madrid or Belfast? Did we all care about the Chechen war before this tragedy?
It is the 10th year of the war! We all use lie, we all feel envy, hatred and anger, we all live with prejudice and stereotypes, we all are ignorant of our environment, we all want more and we'd never stop to achieve our goals. I cannot see when we all are going to change ourselves. Do we need more lives to change the world for the better?
Petr Vinokurov, Yakutsk, Sakha, Russia
The brutal death of these poor, wide-eyed, trembling children absolutely crushes me. There were radio stations in America playing the Russian anthem.
John, Marietta, Georgia
What happened is a disaster! Something that will never be forgotten. We have to learn our lessons well and try to be prepared next time.
Still it is even more devastating to read all these Western newspapers analyzing what happened in Beslan. Practically no word of compassion for the victims and their families. Western journalists try to justify what the terrorists did as if deaths of innocent kids can ever be justified. I am devastated and enraged with such reaction of the western media, which focuses on bashing Putin rather than on the fact that another terrorist act happened. Well, it is clear that the policy of double standards has not disappeared. As a result, those who killed hundreds on 11th of September are called terrorists, while those who committed heinous crimes in Russia are called insurgents, hostage-takers or militants. Is there any justice left in this world?
As for now, my condolences to the families of the victims. We should ensure that nothing like this ever happens again.
Oleg, St Petersburg, Russia
We are told the Muslim faith focuses on peace and serenity. But, each time we are given a glimpse into the Muslim world, all we see is death and murder? To blatantly target children goes directly against the moral fabric that makes us human.
CJ, California, USA
This was an atrocity and I strongly agree that they shouldn't use children. But, in all the news I have heard and seen over the last 24 hours, why does no one talk about all the thousands of Chechens who have suffered, died and lost family, children and friends? Why does no one mention their struggle to survive?
Moya, Sheerness, UK
If one can achieve the independence of a country through the kidnapping and slaughter of children, is such a country worth living in?
My prayers are with all those who have suffered as a result of this devastating deed. The Chechen quest for independence and the current violence has its roots in history, and like the Basques, they will do what they can achieve their aims. There are always two sides to any story. But what a bloody, violent story we as a human race are writing.
Christine Price, Stevensville, Maryland, USA
How can such events be prevented?
Francesca, London, UK
This truly saddens me. Seeing the pictures of traumatized innocent children brought tears to my eyes. What monsters can do such a thing to innocent children?. The world we live in is no longer safe. I am going to go home and hug my 6 month old. I cannot imagine the pain of the parents. This is truly a sad day.
My sincere condolences for the families of the young children who have died in this tragic incident. The terrorists will never win by targeting the children and innocent people.
I was screaming RUN at the TV praying all the children would get out. I could see my children's faces in place of the ones I was watching and the pain was unbearable, I knew mine were safe
Sharron Thayer, Melksham , GB
As a Muslim, I strongly condemn this barbaric and inhuman act, there is no justification for their (hostages) murder whatsoever. They cannot be described as true Muslims, because Muslims do not kill innocent children. The children had an emotional shock, they lived a nightmare, so helping hands are more sacred than praying lips.
Mohamed Dubbe, London, UK
From BBCRussian.com: What are you going to feel if someone puts a gun to the head of someone you love more than yourself? A huge desire to do something to save him? Huge anger? Hopelessness? Now all Russia is experiencing all of these feelings.
From BBCRussian.com: I'm bitter that our law enforcement agencies are so helpless. I am ashamed of Putin who lacks the political will to get them into order and work properly.
From BBCRussian.com:Why are our intelligence services always one step behind the terrorists and do not anticipate their plans? Where are the analysts and people with non-standard ways of thinking? If we are at war, why don't they teach us how to live in these conditions? I work in a hospital and every morning, when I enter the building, I think how easy it would be to take us hostage.
From BBCRussian.com: Everything was done correctly... When a building is stormed like this there are always victims. Now the main thing is to take the same action against the surviving terrorists, to prevent others summoning up the courage to attack a nursery or a maternity ward.
I held my seven-month old son and cried as I watched the scenes of dazed and bloodied youngsters streaming from that school today. Everyone must share that revulsion and sense of a line now being crossed which should have been unthinkable. I always felt a sick dread when I heard otherwise rational people seek to justify the use of terrorist acts when they were used for a political idea they happened to favour.
Jana, London, UK
If you harm women and children to further your cause your cause will no longer exists
George, Dubai, UAE
My heart is broken. Why is it always the innocent that suffer? Take your revenge on those you need to but not the innocent! There are not enough words to express my feeling right now except sorrow. God Bless!
Rachel, Lowell, USA
As a father I grieve and I imagine it could have been my own child! Tears come into my eyes when I see the photos of those injured and dead children!
Eugene, San Francisco, USA and Bucharest, Romania
It is a pathetically sad day for humanity in a lot of ways. We've hit a new and really sick low in modern history it seems. My heart goes out to those innocent children.
John Rightmyer, Philadelphia USA
I am horrified and appalled at the events that have taken place in Beslan. My heart sinks so low to know there are so many sick minded people out there
Clare, London, England
There was no easy answer to this tragedy. I am deeply, deeply sorry for everyone involved - especially the young children. It is so very sad and typical of today's pathetic terrorist world.
Carole Young, Glasgow, Scotland
Crying at my desk at work. Appalled at the carnage. Praying that every one of these terrorist are brought to swift judgement.
Appalled!, Rainbow city, Alabama USA
My most sincere condolences for the tragic outcome of this terrorist act. In the end, the ones who paid for the madness of terrorism and war -as usual- were innocent victims who didn't have anything to do with it. There has got to be another way to put an end to this... The use of military force never solves anything.
Carlos, Tijuana, Mexico
I am a Muslim and I am saddened by the action taken by these desperate and cruel people. There is no justification for action against innocent civilians, especially the young and old. If these people where true Muslims they would never have targeted these children. They will surely all go to hell for their actions.
Yaqub Abdullah A., Wirral, UK
It is no secret that terrorism is barbaric, cruel and sadistic. Terrorism is also the most ineffective way of fighting that has ever existed. How can the perpetrators ever expect freedom and justice for the Chechen nation now? What positive thing can possibly come out of this for Chechnya? The terrorists have once again condemned their own people to destruction, war and worldwide condemnation, as the Palestinians, Taliban and Libyans before them.
Donald Pereira, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I feel dreadfully sorry for all victims. The children had an emotional and nervous shock, that is difficult to overcome. Terrorists taunted the hostages, they undressed them to use their clothes in order not to be notable. Among them were some women - it's terrible, they have no mother instinct. This act of terrorism is directed against the whole of Russia. Their dream is her disintegration. They and their sponsors abroad do not need a strong RUSSIA. So we shouldn't blame any nationality, WE should be just more attentive. This time the special forces prepared well for the outcome: lots of paramedics were all set. Unfortunately they are richly experienced in such situations.
Dmitry, Obninsk, Russia
Terrorism hits the innocent. This has always been the same and will be the same. As a country who suffered a lot from terrorism and sacrificed more than 30.000 people, our hearts are with the families of the children and we pray for the innocent victims. The end of the story was written in the very beginning and the militants who targeted their guns to the innocent children wrote the story. This is far beyond than fighting for freedom as it is claimed to be. This is just the very merciless face of terrorism which aims to destroy self confidence and peace of mind. Those who took part in this siege and those who supported it should know that once you target innocent children, you will prepare the fall of your own. There is no stronger feeling of hate and revenge than the anger of a mother and father who lost their child in such an event and this anger will grow and spread away. Who will than protect the innocent children of Chechnya ?
Murat Yuksel, Istanbul, Turkey
It is very unfortunate what has happened in Russia. These so-called Chechen terrorists are waging a war against the whole humanity. They should be suppressed at any cost. It is strange that the president of the rebels is enjoying a secure life in Britain, which claims to be at war against terrorism and for democracy. There criminals must be executed and deserve no mercy for their acts against common people.
Joseph Jacob, Abu Dhabi, UAE
The authorities acted too late, giving the rebels time to position the school strategically. If they had attacked as soon as they could, the rebels would not have been able to set the bombs and booby traps and many would be alive today. They need anti-terrorist forces ready just in case.
Vladimir Kasparov, Russia
I find the taking of hostages by Chechen Rebels in Beslan, North Ossetia disconcerting. As much as I do Russia's decision to enter the building with so many children inside. They had to know it would turn out much the same as it did in the theatre they rushed and gassed. What were they thinking?!
Michael Desmarais, Chester, South Carolina, USA
September 1st is a special day for any Russian child. Especially if they're entering first grade. I remember my first September 1st quite clearly. I know what it feels like to enter the school for the very first time and stand before the crowd of parents, teachers and older students. You go through all kinds of feelings. Confusion. Anxiety. Anticipation. I cannot imagine what it must of been like for those poor kids to have such as significant day interrupted by a gang of gun-toting terrorists. The fact that those thugs chose to attack a school on a day when they knew it would have more people then in any other time of the week sends my blood boiling. I used to think that you can't sink much lower then deliberately putting young children in harm's way. Apparently, I was wrong. My heart goes out to everyone affected by this tragedy.
Igor Studenkov, Chicago, US
Its a sad ending which I don't even think the rebels wanted. Putin has once again shown that he has no respect for human life, be it innocent children or whatever. I see no reason as to why the building was stormed. The only thing that comes to my mind is to show the ruthlessness or their military might. Innocent lives could have been saved by negotiations. Innocent children and civilians are paying the price whether it be in Afghanistan, Palestine, Chechnya or Iraq. Why? What do we want to prove? This act of desperation on part of the rebels, whoever they are, is condemnable but the blame equally lies on the Russian authorities.
Imran, Bangalore, India
Question for the Chechen terrorists: Where do you think the world's sympathies lie now?
Chris, London, UK
I was really shocked when I first saw it in the news. As a mother of a small child I'm terrified at the thought that children could be held as hostages. This is wrong! And I agree with Stuart from England (below), these terrorists are cowards, they went for small innocent helpless children! I think that if they wanted to make a "statement", they could go for some military base, but not school! So, what's next, a kindergarten???
Silje, Oslo, Norway
When will the BBC and others in the media stop calling terrorists by other names such as "militants", "gunmen" "insurgents", etc. Stop trying to appease these people! They are simply terrorists, murderers with little or no political agenda!!
John Bookbinder, Klapieda, Lithuania
I think it's time Putin realised that his hard-line policy towards Chechnya is not working and he needs to sort this situation out peacefully otherwise things like this will continue, and if that means an independent Chechnya then so be it. Why is a country as big as Russia so concerned about a small area of land?
Adam, London UK
This ruthless event will bring more hatred towards Chechens across Russia. Even though the rebels may constitute 1% of Chechen population, the whole Chechen nation will be hated for the latest bombings, air plane hijacking, and the school massacre. Hence the political demands for Putin will be to suppress Chechnya even further, and that will bring up more resistance, more Chechens ready to fight against the "infidel" Russians. This is going from bad to worse, and from the worst to a total hell.
Stas, Chapel Hill, US, and Moscow, Russia
My sincere condolences to those parents, teachers, pupils alike who had to endure such barbaric and despotic act of terrorism. May the Lord comfort all those who morn at this time as my heart and prayers are with you all.
Reynold Edwin-Jones, Freetown Sierra Leone
Women terrorists should be ashamed of themselves for hurting children. Where are their humane instincts?
Liz Chiesa, Scotland
Hostage taking, hurting and killing children deliberately is the most outrageous act I could possibly imagine of. Is there anything sacred left in the world?
Mary McCannon, Budapest, Hungary
I don't understand why western media is calling these madmen "hostage takers", "rebels" etc. Why not use the proper term and call them TERRORISTS?
Sibil, St. Petersburg, Russia
You have to ask the question, what influences these terrorists throughout their lives? Are they just criminals? Are they zealots? Why do they believe in death and glory? And most importantly - how do we educate people to prevent a following?
Chris Clark, London England
A tragic end to the siege, but it is inevitable, since the rebels didn't allow food and water into the school. Most of the hostages are children. I send my sympathies to the victim's family. I cannot understand how 13 rebels are reportedly escaped under the heavy army presence?
G.T.Chari, Chennai, India
I don't understand the people who are turning this drama into a Putin & Bush bashing session. Can they not see the obvious? That to negotiate with terrorists is impossible and should not be undertaken under any circumstances? That to give in now would mean to give in ever after? Is that what they want? Free reign to terror?
Ilja Jakovich, Helsinki, Finland
What has the human race come to? How can human beings kill young, innocent members of their own kind to make any political point? It's so sad and sickening I want to revoke my membership of mankind.
Edwin Thornber, UK and Bucharest, Romania
I am glad Russian TV has played down the siege. Blanket coverage is what the terrorist child murders crave so less coverage less such scenes.
Tim Brady, Wargrave
What is wrong with us human beings? How can we continue to commit these awful atrocities or stand idly by as they occur - Will all the fear ever be replaced by love?
Lisa, Johannesburg, South Africa
As a father, I am sickened beyond words. As a human, I am saddened at the dubious prospects for mankind that attacks such as these imply. If those terrorists believe that this is the will of 'their God', then they do not have one.
David Lawrence, New York City, USA
Cowards. Fools. Morans. The leaders of Chechen separatists must be pure idiots. Have they any idea how badly this will affect their cause ? People of Chechnya - you should ashamed of yourselves. Where are Muslim voices of condemnation now?
This is worse than anyone's worst nightmare. God help everyone involved and their families. What use is politics as it stands in the world, if the despairing "losers" in unfair contests see no option but to sink to this?
Colm Moran, Chelmsford, Essex
You have got to admire the courage of the rescuers who went into to get the hostages out. They are risking their own lives by doing so. It is an absolute tragic waste of life, there are more than enough people killed by natural disasters.
Christine Coffey, Dover England
These are children just going to school. They don't understand all the craziness of the world and shouldn't be expected to. Why were they made the targets? They should be looking forward to seeing their friends and playing jump rope during recess. No matter where they live, children should be protected from this kind of insanity.
John, Chattanooga USA
Since I've become a parent recently, these events have had an especially chilling effect on me. It's bad enough with adults killing adults, but there is something particularly ghoulish about these "freedom fighters" killing children and using them as human shields. I will pray for the parents of these children, and pray that the perpetrators meet an appropriate fate.
Dennis Olexy, Pennsylvania, USA
I am so distraught with the images of the semi-naked children fleeing from the school. My heart goes out to the families who have endured so much over the past few days. May God give the children and their families the strength to get over this. Any killing of children is wrong. This is happening everywhere from Palestine to Iraq. When will this end?
Shayesteh Rabbani, London UK
I think the last taboo, that of terrorists taking innocent children hostage has clearly been broken. Nobody can be made safe from such determined and ruthless people.
Kevin Ryan, Cork, Ireland
It breaks my heart that people have to suffer like this. It is not fair. It makes me so mad that these militants have no respect for human life. These people never did anything to them. I truly hope they capture the militants and punish them severely. My prayers are with all the innocent people.
Rachael, Rochester, US
Our hearts go out to the families of the dead hostages, but I salute the courage of the Russian authorities for having the guts to show the terrorist underworld that they are not to be messed about with. They are the second greatest nation on earth & have once again shown why.
Mick Mac, Leeds UK
A tragic but inevitable end to the siege. I feel the utmost sympathy and sadness for the families of those involved. However, how could the government give in to the terrorists without making schools the standard targets for future terrorist attacks? Anyone who uses innocent civilians, patients in hospitals, or especially children as shields, should surely receive no quarter from any government.
Tony, London, England
There was only one way this was going to end....in blood and tears. Putin's record speaks for itself.
Usman, Chennai, India
These terrorists have proven yet again that they are cowards, like all terrorists the world over. There should be no negotiation with these cowards and the world should fall in with the Russian Government and offer any help that it can give. Terrorism must be eradicated. The only way to achieve this is to be brutal and ruthless with the terrorists and their supporters. My thoughts are with the parents and families of the hostages and I hope that the Russian Security Forces can bring this situation to a good finish, i.e. all the remaining hostages free and unharmed and all terrorists dead.
Stuart, Redcar, England
Our hearts go out to the Russian people and their courageous forces.
Steve, Cambridge, UK
I don't see how anyone can use the word justified when describing hundreds of children being held hostage at the point of execution by gunfire, starvation, or dehydration. I agree, adults are just as important, but children are innocent. This type of action only breeds more hatred in the hearts of the world and in the hearts of the children starving in that gym. Hatred for the Chechen cause has only grown stronger.
Corrine, Port Orchard, USA
Children are innocent wherever they are be it Afghanistan, Iraq or Chechnya. They deserve to live and grow in peace. Hostage taking or killing of children by any means should be condemned. This is so awful. I truly feel for those children, their parents and all others held hostage, but one should feel the same for children in Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq.
Dr Nadim, Afghanistan
When did hostage taking become an acceptable tool when in the past when it has been used has it worked? It has always hardened the spine of the victims nation. It is never a good bargaining tool. You embarrass a government especially one that is firmly entrenched and you only bring destruction to yourself and your cause. The outside world turns a blind eye to your plight the minute you start taking innocent lives.
Diana, Rochester Hills Michigan
God help the poor parents as they wait for their children. As a parent I can't imagine the pain and anguish they must feel. Every minute must feel like an hour. It is a despicable way to make a point. I pray that those poor children come out alive and do not suffer for their time as hostages. I hope that they remain strong and any adults with them are comforting them as best they can. The rebels have done nothing for their cause but cause an outpouring of hatred towards them from all who are watching. Whether you are a parent or not, nothing is more disgusting to see than someone prepared to hurt an innocent child, let alone hundreds.
Louise, London, UK
This tragedy shows once more that these people have no other agenda but destroying life and property. I am watching a body of a young boy being loaded in a van, and I come to realise that any potential sympathy one may have for Chechen independence must be quickly vanishing. Yes, I am angry, and my heart goes to the parents and families of the children caught in the siege.
Albert, Auckland, New Zealand
We now hear that gunshots and explosions are being heard at the site. How could I stand by and watch my children in such a situation? Political wrongs or rights, these are innocent children who know little of political differences. I could not even pretend to imagine how those grandparents, parents, sisters, brothers and children of those being held feel. No-one can. This is a sinful act of desperation by the hostage takers. Two wrongs can never make a right.
Dave Wright, UK
Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Russia and the town of Beslan. I only hope that the lives of these innocent children are spared. I don't understand what type of human could plan to take the lives of children to further any cause. I only wish that I were able to stand side by side with the Russian people and help them through this time of crisis.
Clay, Dallas, USA