Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
World 
Africa 
Americas 
Asia-Pacific 
Europe 
Middle East 
South Asia 
-----------
From Our Own Correspondent 
-----------
Letter From America 
UK 
UK Politics 
Business 
Sci/Tech 
Health 
Education 
Sport 
Entertainment 
Talking Point 
In Depth 
AudioVideo 
Friday, 17 March, 2000, 08:07 GMT
Chechens put up fight
Russia helicopters
Russian helicopters prepare to bomb the village
A handful of Chechen snipers have driven back Russian forces sent in to mop up the rebel stronghold of Komsomolskoye.

Battle for the Caucasus
Federal forces claimed to have seized control of the strategic village in the Argun gorge, late on Tuesday following 10 days of fierce battles and heavy casualties.

The commanders are reported to have suspended house-to-house searches after coming under attack from a small band of fighters, and have instead sent in the heavy artillery to pound areas around the flattened village.

Pledge to destroy rebels

Russian warplanes and attack helicopters carried out 90 combat missions in the past 24 hours, a sharp increase on recent days.


Chechen civilians
Checehens wait for food in Grozny
Up to 500 rebels were thought to retreated from the village to regroup in nearby forests.

The fate of the Chechen field commander Ruslan Gelayev, who masterminded the defence of Grozny and was said to be holed up in the village, remained unclear.

Defence Minister Igor Sergeyev said the rebels "will be definitively destroyed today" - a pledge his commanders made a week ago.

A Russian officer said that several dozen Chechen fighters had attacked his troops overnight.

"We took casualties," he added, but refused to say how many.

Explosives

Komsomolskoye was the scene of one of the heaviest casualty tolls suffered by the Russian army in the entire conflict.

The battle represented a setback for the Moscow authorities, who are desperate to stamp out rebel resistance before spring arrives.

When the snow melts in Chechnya's southern mountains, the Kremlin's enemy will be able to move around much more freely. Moscow blames Chechen terrorists for a series of bomb attacks on Moscow apartments last year - the rebels have denied responsibility for the attacks.

Itar-Tass reported that the Federal Security Service had proof that the explosive used in the Moscow bomb attacks had been produced in Chechnya.

A spokesman said an explosive substance identical to that used to blow up the apartment buildings had been found in workshops in Urus-Martan.

Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console
BBC RADIO NEWS
BBC ONE TV NEWS
WORLD NEWS SUMMARY
PROGRAMMES GUIDE

Talking PointFORUM
Quiz Russia's spokesman on the conflict in ChechnyaChechen war
Russia's spokesman answers your questions
Europe Contents

Country profiles
See also:

16 Mar 00 | Europe
Russia charges bombing suspects
13 Mar 00 | Europe
Chechen warlord 'captured'
11 Mar 00 | Europe
Chechen fighters hold out
11 Mar 00 | Europe
Blair calls for Chechnya probe
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other Europe stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories