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Russia: Acting Premier Determined To Resist Rebels

Moscow, 11 August 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russian acting Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is scheduled today to meet in Moscow with leaders of the Federation Council to discuss the situation in Dagestan. Suspected Islamic rebels reportedly entered Dagestan from Chechnya over the weekend and have seized several villages near the border with Chechnya. Russian forces have used helicopters and jets to bombard the rebel positions in several villages. Several thousand people have fled their homes. Yesterday, Putin met Russian President Boris Yeltsin in the Kremlin and vowed that Russian troops will continue to resist the rebels. Putin said the situation can be "normalized" in two weeks. In addition to meeting with the heads of the upper house of parliament today, Putin is also expected to meet leaders of the Defense and Interior Ministries. Russian news agencies yesterday quoted Dagestani officials as saying that up to 1,300 volunteer reservists were to head to the war zone to take on the rebels, who declared an independent Islamic state in Dagestan.