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Chechnya: Russian Troops Claim Success In Grozny

Moscow, 18 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian troops in the Chechen capital Grozny claim to have broken through separatist lines in fierce fighting early today and to be nearing the city center. Meanwhile, a delegation from the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe is due today to visit Russian-controlled areas of Chechnya as well as the adjacent republics of Daghestan and Ingushetia, temporary home to some 200,000 Chechen refugees. Yesterday, Lord David Russell-Johnston, president of the assembly, held talks with Russian officials in Moscow and called for a truce and peace talks with Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov. His appeal was turned down by acting President Vladimir Putin.