Putin posthumously honors policeman killed by militants

MOSCOW (AP) " President Vladimir Putin has given Russia's highest award to a police officer who was killed by militants after refusing to renounce his duties.

Magomed Nurbagandov from the volatile North Caucasus province of Dagestan was captured by Islamic militants and shot dead in July. Security services later found a video showing the officer's captors demanding that he urge his colleagues to resign from the police.

Instead, Nurbagandov defied them, saying "Keep on working, brothers!" before being killed.

During Thursday's Kremlin award ceremony, Putin praised the 31-year-old officer as a model for others and handed the Hero of Russia medal to his parents.

Dagestan has become the epicenter of an Islamist insurgency after two separatist wars in neighboring Chechnya. Militants mount regular attacks on police.

This story has been automatically published from the Associated Press wire which uses US spellings

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