Chechen separatists have claimed responsibility for blowing up Russia’s biggest hydropower plant earlier this week.
At least 30 people died and another 45 are still missing after a sudden flood of water gushing down from the 245-metre high dam tore through the engine hall of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydro-electric power plant in Siberia on Monday.
A Chechen militant group said in a letter posted on a rebel website on Friday that they had planted an anti-tank grenade with a timer in the engine room whose explosion “caused much stronger damage than we could have hoped for.”
The group, calling itself Riyadus Salikhiin (Martyrs’ Battalion), is notorious for taking responsibility for most high-profile Chechen rebel attacks in the past, including hostage-takings at a Moscow theatre and a school in Beslan.
Friday’s letter also said the group was responsible for a suicide bomb attack on a police station in Russia’s southern region of Ingushetia on Monday that killed more than 20 people. However, Russian authorities said the group, set up in 2002 by Chechen warlord Shamil Basayev, had long been destroyed along with its leader.
Investigators have also ruled out sabotage as the cause of the hydropower plant disaster.