A Russian secret service unit was responsible for murdering six Western Red Cross nurses in Chechnya in cold blood fourteen years ago rather than Chechen rebels, it has been claimed.
The allegation, made by a former agent in Russia’s FSB security service, challenges the Kremlin version of events that the group was executed by Chechen rebels.
The murdered aid workers included a Dutch architect and nurses from New Zealand, Canada, Spain and Norway. They were working in a hospital not far from Grozny, the Chechen capital, caring for victims of the first Chechen war when they were murdered in their beds in a mysterious night time raid in December 1996.
FSB Major Alexei Potyomkin, who is on the run in Germany with his family, has claimed he was there at the time and that members of his unit murdered the aid workers in error, mistaking them for Chechen rebels. They then did their best to cover up the crime and pin it on the Chechens, he alleged.
Alexander Cherkasov of human rights group Memorial, an expert in Chechnya who has often clashed with the Kremlin, said he doubted the new claims.
A key detail in the former agent’s account was wrong, he said, and Russian troops were not active in the vicinity at that time whereas Chechen rebels were stationed there in large numbers.
Source: The Telelgraph