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Russian President Vladimir Putin says in annual speech “external economic factors” have provoked current situation.
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Russia considers terror strikes


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Vladimir V. Putin

MOSCOW, Russia (CNN) -- President Vladimir Putin says Russia is "seriously preparing to act preventively against terrorists," the Interfax news agency reported.

Putin did not explain what those actions would be or where but said Friday the steps would be "in strict accordance with the law and norms of the constitution, relying on international law."

Since terrorists set off a hostage drama that ended with the deaths of at least 335 people at Besland, Russian officials including Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov have said Russia might launch pre-emptive strikes against terrorists in the region.

Putin's remarks came on a day that a Chechen rebel leader claimed responsibility for that attack and others.

In a ranting and rambling e-mail message, Chechen terrorist leader Samil Basayev claimed responsibility for several recent terrorist attacks in Russia, according to an announcement posted Friday on the Chechen rebel Web site, Kavkazcenter. (Full story)

In the letter, Basayev said his "Shahid Brigade Riadus-Salahina" carried out a series of "successful militant operations," including the Moscow metro bombing, explosions aboard two passenger jets and the taking of hostages at a school in Beslan.

Basayev blamed Putin for the school massacre, saying Russian troops had always planned to storm the school.

Russia's Foreign Ministry quickly reacted Basayev claims saying he and his group were tied to international terrorism.

Recalling the attempts to appease Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler in the 1930s, Putin said there could be no "bargaining" with terrorists.

"Every concession leads to a widening of their demands and multiplies the losses," Putin was quoted as saying.


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