Moscow, 8 May 2000 (RFE/RL) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin today said
he will ask his country's parliament to introduce direct rule over Chechnya for
up to two years. News agencies quoted Putin as saying direct rule is needed to restore order
and would last from 18 months to two years.
Russian forces have been on heightened alert in recent days in case Chechen
guerrillas mounted attacks when Putin was inaugurated yesterday or during
tomorrow's World War Two victory commemorations.
The Russian military said Chechen fighters attacked Russian positions in
the Chechen capital Grozny and elsewhere in the breakaway republic. They said a
Russian SU-24 jet which disappeared over Chechnya yesterday could have been
downed by guerrillas. The pilot's fate is unknown.
Russian forces claimed today they killed 20 guerrillas in artillery and air