Moscow, 18 August 1999 (RFE/RL) - The Russian Interior Ministry says eight soldiers were killed and 20 wounded in Dagestan today in an attack on a village held by Islamic militants. Today's casualty list is the heaviest so far announced by the Russian authorities. The troops were attacking the village of Tando in western Dagestan for the second straight day. Russian planes have bombed the outskirts of the village for several days.
The Islamic militants invaded Dagestan from Chechnya and seized several villages 12 days ago.
The Russian Interior Ministry said Russian forces have seized the Kharami mountain pass on the border between Dagestan and Chechnya. The ministry said the pass is an important supply route for the militants, who will now find it more difficult to bring in men and materials.
Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev arrived in Dagestan today with a group of senior security officials to inspect the Russian operation against the Islamic militants.