Moscow, May 20 (RFE/RL) -- Russian troops last night renewed an assault in a bid to seize the southwestern Chechen stronghold of Bamut. Our correspondent quotes Russian Defence Ministry officials as saying that the separatist resistance in Bamut is very tough. The report says that Russian troops are shelling Chechen separatist positions in Bamut, not the village itself. Russian Defense Ministry officials say Bamut is blockaded by Russian troops. There are no reports on Russian or Chechen casualities there.
An Interfax correspondent in the area says that Russian warplanes started to bomb the village this morning. However, Interfax gives conflicting reports on how many Chechen fighters are defending the village of Bamut. Interfax quotes the Russian officials in the region of Bamut as saying that more than 100 Chechen fighters are in Bamut. Another report of Interfax quotes Chechen rebels as saying that at least 60 separatists remain in Bamut.