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Chechnya: Heavy Fighting Continues

Moscow/Shali, 11 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian news agencies today reported heavy fighting in several areas of Chechnya. Agencies said Russians continued air and artillery attacks against Argun, Gudermes, Shali, and the capital Grozny, undermining Russian commanders' claims that their troops controlled those localities. Only yesterday, General Viktor Kazantsev, the commander of Russian forces in Chechnya, claimed Argun and Shali were fully under Russian control. The Interfax agency said Chechen fighters surrounded Russian troops in several buildings in the southern town of Shali, cutting them off from reinforcements.

Interfax said Russian air and artillery barrages directed at Shali had done little to affect the situation because Chechen forces were too close to Russian positions.

The agencies said Russian warplanes also bombed roads leading south into the mountains.

No information on damage or casualties was available.