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Russia Claims Senior Chechen Commander Killed

18 February 2005 -- The Russian military says a senior Chechen separatist field commander was killed in an ambush today.

General Ilya Shabalkin, a spokesman for the Russian Army command in the Northern Caucasus region, told journalists that police forces loyal to the pro-Moscow Chechen administration killed Yunadi Turchaev and an unspecified number of his men.

There was no immediate word of confirmation from the Kavkaz-Tsenter separatist information website.

Shabalkin said the 32-year-old Turchaev, also known as the "Emir of Grozny," was a close associate of Chechen separatist leader Aslan Maskhadov.