Dr Charles Tannock

Member of the European Parliament for London

We must learn from Beslan

London Evening Standard - September 7th 2004

If Dr John Russell (3 September) thinks Chechen Terrorists downing civilian airliners and placing car bombs in central Moscow represents the Chechen people's "fighting spirit" he insults the innocent victims and apologises for the terrorists' barbaric culture.

Although atrocities have undoubtedly been perpetrated Russian forces in Chechnya, their targets have been combatants, not innocent women and children.

Our sympathy must go to the Russian people and President Putin's predicament.

He knows if he capitulates to demands for Chechen independence, he will see not only a rogue state emerge as a haven for crime and terrorism, but also widespread demands for separatism in the many Muslim enclaves throughout Russia, where 17% of the population is Muslim.

Dr Charles Tannock MEP
London Region and Conservative Foreign Affairs spokesman
European Parliament
Brussels