Nazran, Russia; 4 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - The Russian military command says
special forces troops have ambushed a column of Chechen rebels outside the
capital Grozny, killing at least 18 of them. The command said the Russians opened fire with machine guns and then
called-up artillery strikes in the ambush, which occurred yesterday near the
southern village of Avtury.
Casualty figures were impossible to confirm independently.
Associated Press reports the ambush could signal a change in Russian
tactics, in that Russian forces in Chechnya have recently suffered losses
themselves in several similar rebel ambushes.
Meanwhile, rebels kept up their pressure on Russian checkpoints, attacking
three times in Grozny. Interfax reported no Russian troops were killed.
The rebels also claim to have killed 12 government soldiers and destroyed
three military vehicles in attacks in the areas of Urus-Martan, Shelkovskaya and
Shatoi. The Russians deny losses.