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Chechnya: Russian Deputy Commander Wounded

Moscow, 8 June 2000 (RFE/RL) - The deputy commander of Russian troops in western Chechnya was seriously wounded when Chechen rebels ambushed his car near the town of Urus-Martan. Our correspondent in Moscow says Valery Konovalov sustained serious head wounds late yesterday when Chechens fired on his car with submachine guns and a grenade launcher. Russian news agencies say Konovalov's driver was killed in the attack. The latest ambush followed a suicide bombing in Alkhan-Yurt that killed two Russian soldiers yesterday. Five servicemen were also injured in the attack by two Chechen suicide bombers who blew up a truck packed with explosives outside a Russian facility.

Russian forces have responded to the suicide bombing by pounding Chechen rebels with artillery fire in Alkhan-Yurt. Meanwhile the Russian government plans to meet today to discuss the allocation of $274 million for the restoration of Chechnya.

ITAR-TASS quotes the government press center saying the cabinet will be focusing on the social and economic sectors, especially on the supply of gas, energy and water.

Ministers also will consider costs of the transport and agriculture industries and the reconstruction of hospitals and schools. Deputy Finance Minister Andrei Petrov will present a report on the financing of the communications facilities and the payment of pensions and allowances to Chechen civilians.

ITAR-TASS said the cabinet would also address the ecological damage caused by the war.