Moscow, 23 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russia has intensified security in major towns and cities to guard against what government officials say may be an increased chance of terrorist acts by Chechens. Today marks the 56th anniversary of the start of Stalin's mass deportations of Chechens during World War II.
Russians, meanwhile, today honor veterans and soldiers by celebrating Defender of the Fatherland Day, formerly called Red Army Day. As Russian troops and warplanes continued to battle rebel fighters in Chechnya's southern mountains, the U.S. again urged Russia to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation of alleged atrocities by its forces in Chechnya.
State Department spokesman James Rubin said it was not credible for Moscow to continually dismiss reports of atrocities as propaganda.