An official from the breakaway Russian republic of Chechnya has won political asylum in the United States and is living in Vermont. Ilyas Akhmadov was appointed foreign minister in 1999 by the Chechen rebel leader and president. Russian forces have been battling rebels in Chechnya for years.
Akhmadov came to Vermont in 2002 and was granted asylum this April by a Boston immigration judge. He also has lived in Cambridge, Massachusetts. His asylum request was finalized on Monday after the Department of Homeland Security determined he had no terrorist connections.
The Russian Foreign Ministry says the U.S. decision could hurt cooperation in the war on terrorism. Russian President Vladimir Putin argues that the Chechen government and Akhmadov are terrorists.