The revelation that the two suspects in the deadly Boston marathon bombings are Chechen refugees presents a new test for President Obama’s already fraught relationship with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

The motivations for the attack remain unknown, but the brothers’ link to the troubled Muslim-majority Russian enclave will likely impact U.S.-Russian relations, with unknown consequences.

Early statements from Russian authorities revealed their unease with any effort to link the attack to Chechnya, a region where successive U.S. administrations have refrained from criticizing Russia’s crackdown on Islamist separatists since the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Any attempt to make the connection between Chechnya and [the two suspects] if they are guilty, [is] in vain,” Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin protege, said in a statement. “It is necessary to seek the roots of evil in America.”

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