"The chairman of the Investigative Committee of Russia has ordered the head of the Investigative Committee of the Chechen Republic, V. G. Volkov, to conduct an investigation and report on the attack on journalist Yelena Milashina and lawyer Alexander Nemov in the city of Grozny," the committee said.
The victims have been transferred to a hospital in the nearby North Ossetia region. The region's Commissioner for Human Rights, Tamerlan Tsgoev, said that both "the lawyer and the journalist are in quite serious condition."
The journalist Milashina has suffered a brain injury and has several broken fingers, and the lawyer has been stabbed in the leg. According to Tsgoev, doctors have said that "depending on indications, if medically necessary, they will be transferred to Moscow on a special flight."
Milashina and Nemov are being questioned by the police. Authorities said it is proving more difficult in the case of the journalist, as she is in a more serious condition.
Both officials arrived Tuesday in Chechnya to attend the trial of Zarema Musayeva, the mother of two activists who have defied Chechen authorities. Outside the airport, their vehicle was blocked by several cars, and they were attacked by unidentified masked assailants who beat them with batons, pointed guns at their heads, and smashed their equipment.
Authorities are working to identify the perpetrators of the attack. Chechnya's head, Ramzan Kadyrov, said, "I have instructed the competent services to do everything possible to identify the assailants."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that Russian President Vladimir Putin was informed of the incident. It is "a very serious attack that requires very strong action," Peskov said.