Moscow, 28 April 2000 (RFE/RL) - Amid reports of more Russian casualties, Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin says the military campaign in Chechnya will continue until Russia has achieved complete victory over Chechen separatist rebels. Putin spoke as the military said yesterday that 1,900 Russians had been killed since fighting began in Chechnya seven months ago.
General Valery Manilov also said 10 Russian soldiers were killed in a battle Wednesday in southern Chechnya. He said more than 20 rebels had also died.
Rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov told the AFP news agency late yesterday that 14 more Russian troops were killed in a new rebel attack in Grozny. There was no word on this claim from the Russian side.
The Russians and rebels frequently give conflicting casualty claims and no independent verification is possible.