Moscow, March 21 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian
military command in Chechnya says it is holding talks with Chechen
separatists in the western town of Samashki -- aimed at convincing
them to lay down their arms.
However, Russian defense ministry officials (unnamed) tell our
correspondent in Moscow that there is no progress in the talks.
Witnesses said that more than 600 civilians have been killed in the
shelling of Samashki in the last few days, but this figure has not
been independently confirmed.
Meanwhile, a Russian military spokesman told Interfax news agency
that Russian warplanes today have bombed several villages in the Urus
Martan area of southwestern Chechnya where they believe Chechen
separatist fighters are holed up.
And in the Chechen capital, Grozny, Itar-Tass reports that one
Russian soldier was killed and six others were wounded in the last 24