Moscow, 22 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian forces are reportedly coming under small arms fire from scores of Chechen rebels in the southern mountain village of Komsomolskoye. The report on Russian state television last night followed a report earlier yesterday in which Russian commanders said the Russian flag had been raised over the village, suggesting they had defeated Chechen rebels after two weeks of intense fighting.
State television also reported that Russian troops had killed 30 rebels and captured 40. There was no independent confirmation. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe said OSCE military observers will move into a border region between Georgia and Russia in a bid to monitor growing tension there.
A European Union delegation said it would send food worth $2.3 billion to 210,000 Chechen refugees in camps in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. Aid workers are due to begin the distribution next week.