Moscow: President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday described a spate of recent murders of rights activists and others in the Russian Caucasus as "political" crimes aimed at further destabilizing the turbulent region.
"A whole series of political murders and attempted murders are aimed at destabilising the situation in the Caucasus," Medvedev said after holding talks with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at his Black Sea residence in Sochi.
"I mean the murders of our rights defenders, I mean the attempted murder on the new president of Ingushetia – who actively strove to stabilise the situation -- and a series of other political murders."
His comments came three days after the head of a Russian aid organisation and her husband were abducted in Chechenya and later found murdered, stuffed in the boot of a car.
They also came a day after the leader of Ingushetia, Yunus-Bek Yevkurov, said he was resuming his duties in the volatile province though he was still recovering from a June 22 bomb attack in which he sustained serious injuries.
Echoing a thesis frequently put forward by the Kremlin in recent years, Medvedev said unspecified armed groups in the Caucasus had been "activated" and were receiving support from "foreign sources" that he did not name.