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Dudayev - Raduyev and Maskhadov alive


Grozny, March 13 (RFE/RL) - Chechen separatist leader Dzhokhar Dudayev today denied Russian official reports saying that leading separatist commander Salman Raduyev had been killed in recent fighting in Chechnya.

Dudayev said today in an e-x-c-l-u-s-i-v-e phone interview with RFE/RL that Raduyev, together with Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov, recently reported injured, are continuing fighting.

Dudayev called the RFE/RL office in Moscow and said Raduyev and Maskhadov are ready to meet Russian officials to confirm his words.

According to Dudayev, the recent separatist fighters' attack on Russian positions in the Chechen capital Grozny was aimed at revenging Russian violence against the Chechen people.

Clashes seem to have died out in Grozny today. The head of the pro-Moscow Chechen government, Doku Zavgayev, told a press conference that the situation is "under control."

But RFE/RL correspondents in Chechnya report snipers' activity in Grozny. Military activity is reported in the area of the separatist stronghold of Bamut, some 40 kilometers southwest of Grozny.

Itar-Tass news agency quoted the Russian military command in Chechnya as saying that "sporadic fighting" was reported in the area. But a senior Russian Defense ministry official in Moscow said n-o decision has yet been taken on whether to storm bamut.

An RFE/RL correspondent in Bamut says some 50 separatist fighters are now in the village, abandoned earlier by residents fearing a Russian attack.
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