Moscow, 26 January 2000 (RFE/RL) - Police and security forces in Moscow were put on heightened alert yesterday to guard against what they say could be renewed terrorist attacks by Chechen rebels. Acting President Vladimir Putin said there was a greater risk of bomb attacks, and that the risk would increase further until Chechen "bandits" had been "exterminated."
Russian officials blame the rebels for a series of bombings in Russia last fall which killed nearly 300 people. The rebels have denied any involvement in the bombings.
Also yesterday, Russian commanders told Russian news agencies that nearly 1,200 federal troops have been killed and 3,500 wounded in five months of fighting in Chechnya. The casualty figures could not be confirmed by independent sources. The Russian advance in Grozny reportedly stalled at Minutka Square, where the main street leads to the heart of the capital, Grozny. Rebels attacked Russian troops in the Argun Gorge south of the capital, while holding strategic points in the mountains.