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Russia: Fierce Fighting Continues in Grozny

Moscow, 27 December 1999 (RFE/RL) - A pro-Moscow Chechen militia leader today said the Russian attack on Grozny has run into fierce resistance from Chechen fighters and both sides are suffering casualties. The former mayor of Grozny, Bislan Gantamirov, told Interfax that seizing the Chechen capital may take longer than expected.

Pro-Moscow Chechen politican Malik Saydullayev said the battle for Grozny could take months.

Russian military officials in Moscow have put Russian losses at just four men in the last 24 hours. It was possible to verify the claim independently.

Chechen officials in Grozny said they had repelled Russian forces approaching the city's center.

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov has said his forces in Grozny will fight to the last man.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today said the attack was going according to plan.

Both sides also have reported fierce fighting in several areas of southern Chechnya.