The bodyguard of Russia's most wanted insurgent was killed by security forces on Saturday, officials said, as Moscow tries to curb militancy in its Caucasus region before it hosts the Winter Olympics near there in February.
Russian authorities said Mikhail Musikhanov, killed along with another militant in a shootout in Ingushetia's Sunzha region, was the personal bodyguard of rebel leader Doku Umarov who has vowed to use "maximum force" to prevent President Vladimir Putin staging the 2014 Games in Sochi.
"The criminals tried to break through the security cordon. As a result of the ensuing gunfire their resistance was crushed and the bandits were neutralized," Russia's Anti-Terrorism Committee (NAK) said in a statement.
Since 2011, 29-year-old Musikhanov was part of the inner circle of Umarov, leader of the outlawed Caucasus Emirate, accompanying him everywhere as his bodyguard, NAK said.