Putin Orders to Find and Kill Iraqi Murderers of Russian Diplomats

President Vladimir Putin has ordered Russian special services to find and kill the criminals who had kidnapped and executed several Russian embassy staff in Iraq earlier this month.

The ITAR-TASS news agency quoted a report by the Russian presidential pres service as reading that Vladimir Putin said this at the meeting with Saudi Prince Salman ben-Abdel Aziz al Saud.

“Russia will be grateful to our friends for sharing any information about the criminals who had killed our citizens in Iraq,” Putin added.

Four Russian embassy workers were abducted June 3 after an attack on their car in Baghdad’s Mansour neighborhood. A fifth Russian was killed in the incident. The captives include the embassy’s third secretary, Fyodor Zaitsev, and three other staffers: Rinat Agliulin, Anatoly Smirnov and Oleg Fedoseyev.

On June 25 an Iraqi al-Qaida-linked group posted a Web video showing the killings of the hostages.

Russian operations in other countries are wrapped in secrecy, but in 2004 a court in the Middle East state of Qatar convicted two Russian intelligence officers for killing Chechen terrorist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev. After serving some time in Qatar jail both men were handed over to Russia which claimed they will continue to serve their life sentences.

At the trial, the judge said the plot to assassinate Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev was carried out with the approval of the “Russian leadership” and coordinated between Moscow and the Russian Embassy in Qatar.

Russia has denied involvement in Yandarbiyev’s killing and has said the defendants, who have not been officially identified, were agents gathering intelligence about terrorism.