This time last week Americans were just starting to learn about the troubled Russian region of Chechnya after authorities released the identities of the two suspects in the Boston Marathon bombings.
Rebecca Cruise discusses women in combat and the U.S. drone program with NPR's Rachel Martin. Before taking over the host's chair of Weekend Edition Sunday, she reported from both Iraq and Afghanistan, and served as the network's national security correspondent.
Russian President Vladimir Putin criticized the West Thursday for refusing to declare Chechen militants terrorists and for offering them political and financial assistance in the past, in light of the revelation that Boston Marathon bombing suspects Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev had Chechen roots.
The U.S. has urged the Kremlin to seek a political settlement in Chechnya and provided humanitarian aid to the region during the two separatist wars that began in 1994.
"Violence and conflict has happened in Chechnya for centuries," University of Oklahoma College of International Studies Dean and KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot says. "This goes back to the 16th Century when there's been war after war after war. So it's been a volatile region for some time."
Gunfire and explosions have been heard in the Boston suburb of Watertown, Mass., and police have converged on the area. The events there follow the shooting death late Thursday of a campus police officer at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Since 2001, the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum has held the marathon to commemorate the bombings in that city, which killed 168 people and injured more than 800 others.
But given the events at the Boston Marathon, Oklahoma City marathon organizers are cautiously evaluating security plans and making their decisions one day at a time.