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Chechnya: Putin Says Russians In Control Of Grozny

Moscow, 7 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian forces yesterday raised their flag over Grozny as acting President Vladimir Putin said troops were now in full control of Chechnya's destroyed capital city. Putin said on the Russian television station ORT that troops had eliminated the last pocket of resistance in Grozny -- in the Zavodskoyi district. Russian forces had been fighting a bitter campaign against Chechen separatists for control of the city since late December.

Russian Deputy Chief of Staff Valery Manilov had said that as soon as Grozny was secured, federal troops would be redeployed to Chechnya's southern mountains.

The Chechens have vowed to continued fighting a guerrilla war against Russian forces from their southern bases in the Argun and Vedeno gorges. The Chechens reportedly have built sophisticated concrete fortifications in those mountain passes during the last four years.

Interfax news agency has reported that Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov yesterday issued an appeal for more volunteers to continue the war.