Wednesday, September 15, 1999 Published at 17:40 GMT 18:40 UK
Security clampdown in Russia
Security checks are being made throughout the country
A massive security sweep is under way in Russia aimed at catching those responsible for a bombing campaign that has killed almost 300 people in the past two weeks.
The police presence in Moscow is three times its usual size and people have been told to be on alert for signs of anything unusual.
Police are now holding more than 20 suspects on charges of involvement in terrorist acts, according to the Itar-Tass news agency.
Vehicles entering and leaving Moscow are being stopped, the police are making random document checks all over the city, and a widespread search is under way for explosives.
Moscow Mayor Yuri Lushkov has told the police that every market, every shop, every warehouse, every entrance to a block of flats and every basement in the city has to be searched.
In the big blocks of flats - where most Russians live - people have been setting up their own watch committees, registering the names of all those living in their neighbourhoods and checking empty rooms.
BBC Moscow Correspondent Robert Parsons says it is almost as if the city is on a war-footing.
'A death for a death'
"We wish to state that not one of the Russian pilots' bombs will go without a response. Not one of the lives of our children and women will go unavenged. There will be a death for a death.
The rebels have declared a holy war against Russia and are trying to create an independent Islamic state uniting Chechnya and Dagestan.
Mr Putin says he wants a security cordon thrown around Chechnya.
According to the Interfax news agency the Russian Defence Minister Marshal Igor Sergeyev said "several thousand guerrillas" are concentrated in Chechnya near the border with Dagestan.
He said that the army was "fully prepared" for further incursions into Dagestan from Chechnya.
However, the prime minister has ruled out any possibility of imposing emergency measures inside Russia in response to the bomb attacks.
"It is time to stop talking about a state of emergency", Mr Putin told journalists on Tuesday.
Gennady Seleznyov, speaker of parliament's lower house or Duma and a Yeltsin critic, said on Wednesday that he too was opposed to a state of emergency.
"A state of emergency involves halting the operation of all our civilian institutions, halting the operation and stopping the activities of all parties, the possible halting of the operation of parliament," he said.