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Russia: Chechens Prepare To Rebuff Russian Attacks

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 capital.

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.