The Russian Presidential Administration is aware of reports of the mass killing of detainees in Chechnya, Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov said on 10 July. He pointed out that Chechen police have already denied the reports.
‘We saw these reports which were published in one newspaper. We took note of them, as well as the refutation of this information, which was done by the structures of internal affairs of the Chechen Republic’, Russian state-owned news agency TASS quoted Peskov, who also noted that information about the killings came from an anonymous source.
On 9 July, Novaya Gazeta reported that on the night of 25–26 January, 27 young people were shot to death by security forces in Chechnya. They were rounded-up after the murder of a Chechen policeman by a group of young people on 17 December 2016. The newspaper published names, patronymics, and places of residence of the victims.
The Chechen authorities immediately denied the reports, with Chechen Head Ramzan Kadyrov writing on his Telegram social media account that, ‘different forces are trying to shake this world through certain levers, and each one of Akhmat-Khadzhi Kadyrov’s team has to be like Atlas, to hold up on their shoulders what the enemies want to destroy’.
Russian rights group Memorial partially confirmed the reports, with board member Oleg Orlov telling TV channel Dozhd that they had confirmed the detention of six of the people who the newspaper says were murdered.