Russia’s president has vowed to crush Islamist rebels fighting for independence in the country’s northern Caucasus.
Dmitry Medvedev’s tough talking followed an operation by Russian special forces in which 17 insurgents were killed in an attack on a small village in Ingushetia.
Unconfirmed reports claim Russia’s most wanted man, Doku Umarov, may have been among the dead.
Talking with his security chief, President Medvedev said efforts to eliminate rebels must continue.
“For some time, these problems have persisted in several of our republics in the Caucasus, and they can only be resolved in this way,” he said.
The special forces-led action is also reported to have led to the detention of two suspects behind the January suicide bombing at Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport. Some 37 people died in the attack which was blamed on the rebel leader Umarov.