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Gunmen release chilling video

The gunmen have already killed one of the hostages
The gunmen have already killed one of the hostages

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Five hostages have been released from the Moscow theatre where about 700 are being held hostage.
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CNN's Ryan Chilcote on how gunmen claiming Chechen sympathy stormed a Moscow theatre and took the audience hostage.
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• Eyewitness: 'A lot of blood' 
• Background: Chechen-Russian conflict 
• Interactive: Russia's Forgotten War 

• Russian Government: Official Information external link
• Pro-rebel Website: external link

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- Gunmen holding 700 hostages at a Moscow theatre have told the Russian authorities: "We are more keen on dying than you are keen on living."

The statement was recorded on video tape and aired on the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera TV station on Thursday.

The tape showed Chechen dissidents, some of them veiled women, describing their motivations for the takeover of the theatre on Wednesday night.

At least 40 gunmen, armed with automatic weapons and explosives, have threatened to kill hostages unless Russia agrees to their demand -- the end of the war in Chechnya. (Latest)

On the video, a woman speaker says: "Every nation has the right to their fate.

"Russia has taken away this right from the Chechens and today we want to reclaim these rights, which God has given us (in the same way he has given it to other nations).

"God has given us the right of freedom and the right to choose our destiny. And the Russian occupiers have flooded our land with our children's blood. And we have longed for a just solution.

"People are unaware of the innocent who are dying in Chechyna: the sheikhs, the women, the children and the weak ones. And therefore, we have chosen this approach.

"This approach is for the freedom of the Chechen people and there is no difference in where we die, and therefore we have decided to die here, in Moscow.

"And we will take with us the lives of hundreds of sinners. If we die, others will come/follow us -- our brothers and sisters who are willing to sacrifice their lives (in God's way) to liberate their nation.

"Our nationalists have died but people have said that they (the nationalists) are terrorists and criminals. But the truth is Russia is the true criminal."

The Associated Press said that a black-clad male hostage-taker also spoke on the tape.

He is reported to say: "I swear by God we are more keen on dying than you are keen on living.

"Each one of us is willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of God and the independence of Chechnya."

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