Grozny, 19 October 1999 (RFE/RL) - Correspondents say Chechen
rebels in Grozny are building fortifications and digging trenches to rebuff
a possible Russian assault. Russia's forward troops are said to be
well-entrenched to the north and the west of Grozny. And hundreds of
Russian soldiers are reported to have penetrated the outskirts of the
Chechen officials deny Russian troops have advanced so far and say
Russia will suffer heavy casualties if its soldiers try to take Grozny.
Russia's deputy chief of staff of the armed forces, Valery Manilov, says
Moscow wants to seal Chechnya off on all sides to block Islamic militants
from infiltrating neighboring regions and to cut off rebel supply routes.