Moscow, 10 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russia's Interior Ministry says an explosion damaged a Russian freight train in eastern Chechnya today, causing no injuries but derailing two empty tank cars. It said the train was rolling from Gudermes, Chechnya's second largest city, to Khasavyurt in the neighboring Russian republic of Daghestan. Chechen rebel separatists have said they will attack Russian targets throughout the breakaway republic.
Also today, Russian acting President Vladimir Putin said he may introduce direct Kremlin rule over Chechnya after rebel fighters have been "dispersed and wiped out." Putin said this would likely occur after the Russian presidential election later this month.
Fighting continues today in southern Chechnya's village of Komsomolskoye, where small rebel groups continue hit and run opposition to Russian troops, and Russian warplanes and artillery bombard the village.