Rossiya 1 TV: Putin accuses Washington of directly supporting Chechen militants in 2000

Russian President Vladimir Putin has accused Washington of directly offering logistic support to militants operating in North Caucasus.

Putin said in a documentary, which was broadcast Sunday on Rossiya 1 television, that Russian intelligence sources have found evidence of US assistance to the militants in early 2000s.

„Once our special services documented what were simply direct contacts between fighters from the North Caucasus and representatives of US special forces in Azerbaijan,“ Putin said in the documentary titled “President,” marking 15 years since he first became head of state.

Noting that American forces even helped in transporting the militants, Putin said he had informed the US president at the time about the meddlesome activities and that then US president had responded by telling him, „I’ll kick their ass.“

„But within 10 days … my subordinates, the FSB (Russia’s intelligence service) heads, received a letter from their colleagues in Washington saying, ‚We have had and will have relations with all the opposition forces in Russia and we consider we have the right to do this and we will do this in the future‘,“ Putin said.

Although the Russian head of state did not identify the US president during the televised documentary, it was Bill Clinton that headed the American government at the time.

As prime minister from 1999, Putin initiated the second Chechen War, which did not formally end until 2009. The first Chechen war, which began in 1994, came to an end after the withdrawal of Russian troops in 1996, leaving the restive region with de facto independence.

Putin further insisted that governments should never cooperate with „terrorists,“ adding, „Absolutely not, never and nowhere. You mustn’t even try to use terrorists to solve transitory political and even geopolitical tasks.”

„Because if you support them in one place, they will raise their head in another place and they will definitely strike those who supported them yesterday,“ he added.