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Russia: Fighting Continues Around Chechnya

Moscow/Shali, 12 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - Fighting continued today in several towns east and south of the Chechen capital Grozny, despite claims by Russian military command that the settlements were "firmly" under control of its troops. Russian news agencies said fighting continued around Argun -- east of Grozny -- Shali -- southeast of Grozny -- and a string of nearby villages. Meanwhile, heavy fighting continued in Grozny, where Russian forces used helicopters and artillery in their attacks on Chechen defenders.

Russian artillery and air force continued attacking the southern village of Vedeno, which was yesterday abandoned by Chechen fighters.

No independent information about damage and casualties was available.

Security forces in neighboring Georgia said they had caught a group of Russian soldiers trying to sell weapons from a Russian military base in Georgia to Chechen guerrillas. The Russian Federal Security Service denied knowledge of the alleged incident, saying it was a "provocation."