Moscow, July 15 (RFE/RL) -- The press-centre of the pro-Moscow Chechen Interior Ministry says nine Russian soldiers were injured today in Grozny when their armoured personnel carrier was hit by a grenade.
Minor fighting between Russian troops and Chechen separatist continues in Chechnya, after last week's Russian artillery and air offensive on Southern Chechen villages. The Russian command said four Russian servicemen were killed and 31 others wounded in the last 24 hours.
Chechen separatist spokesman Movladi Udugov told RFE/RL yesterday that more than 400 civilians have been killed in the offensive. Udugov said that 24 Chechen separatist fighters had also been killed. He said Russian forces had suffered heavy losses, particularly near the village of Gekhi. There is no independent confirmation of Udugov's claim.
Russian troops continue to blockade villages where they are reportedly searching for illegally stored weapons. But residents of Tsentoroi, Benoi and Alleroi say they have no weapons and say they fear a Russian attack. Additional Russian forces were reported being sent into Mekhety and Vedeno.