Akhmad Kadyrov, the pro-Russian President of Chechnya, was killed today. A massive explosion ripped through the VIP section of the Dynamo stadium in Grozny, where he and a number of other top officials were watching the Victory Day parade, to commemorate the end of World War Two.
The attack seems to have been a deliberate attempt to destroy the entire senior pro-Russian leadership in Chechnya in one fell swoop. Colonel-General Valery Baranov, the top Russian military officer in Chechnya is reportedly fighting for his life, his leg amputated. Other senior officials wounded or killed include speaker of the State Council, Eli Isayev, military commandant of Chechnya, Grigory Fomenko, and Interior Minister, Alu Alkhanov. (see ITAR-TASS and MosNews.
The explosion was only a few hours ago (around 6:30 GMT) so information is sketchy and contradictory right now, and rumours are flying.
The overall death toll is unclear – early reports put it at around 14 dead plus around 40 wounded, but the latest report from the BBC puts the toll much higher – 30 killed.
Details about what caused the explosion itself are also sketchy – some say a landmine caused the blast, others a female suicide bomber.
One other disturbing rumour currently doing the rounds is that Russian guards indiscriminately opened fire right after the explosion. No news on whether this resulted in more injuries and deaths, though.
Prime Minister Sergei Abramov will take over as acting President.
Thanks for the heads up.