Russia reacted angrily to a US television network interview with its most wanted man, Chechen warlord, Shamil Basayev.
In it he says if he is a “terrorist” Moscow is much worse.
“I’m a bad guy, a bandit, a terrorist, but what would you call the Russians” he said.
The separatist rebel leader admitted ordering the attack on a school in Beslan last September in which 330 hostages, half of the children, died.
He said the action was nothing compared to the number of people killed by Moscow’s troops in Chechnya.
But he refused to accept responsibility for the children killed in the siege and blamed Russian authorities, a stance which conflicts with most Russian accounts.
Moscow has protested strongly against the broadcast, describing the Russian journalist who conducted the interview as a “Chechen sympathiser.”
The Russian Embassy in Washington said the item was “outrageous” and accused the network of providing a forum to one of al-Qaeda’s zealots.