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Chechnya: Caucasus Command Refutes Kremlin Denial

Moscow, 25 July (RFE/RL) - Russia's military command in the Caucasus has confirmed that there was a battle yesterday near the southeastern settlement of Serzhen-Yurt. But the command center is denying claims by Chechen separatists that dozens of Russian troops were killed. Earlier today, the Kremlin's top spokesman on Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, categorically denied that there had been any fighting near Serzhen-Yurt. Meanwhile, Chechen separatist spokesman Movladi Udugov says at least five more Russian soldiers were killed today in a four-hour clash near the town of Argun, about 15 km east of Grozny.

Interfax reports that Russian forces are continuing to launch air strikes in southern Chechnya at a rate of about 40 missions per day.