Chechen Rebels Report 22 Russian Soldiers Killed, Moscow Denies
Moscow denied a report issued by Chechen rebels Saturday that they had killed 22 federal troops in the troubled republic over the previous 24 hours.
Rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov told AFP by phone that Chechen fighters had killed 10 soldiers in the capital Grozny overnight Friday, and another 12 during clashes on Friday and Saturday in the Argun gorge, southern Chechnya, and near Jani-Vedeno and Belgatoy in the southeast.
One rebel fighter was killed and several wounded in the operations, he said.
"We deny this information," Kremlin advisor Sergei Yastrzhembski told AFP.
Udugov also denounced what he said had been a four-day Russian military operation at Stari-Atugi, a village about 15 kilometers, (10 miles) south of Grozny.
Tens of civilians had disappeared, he said, several being arrested and taken off to unknown destinations.
Villagers later found six bodies, including three brothers from the same village, who had been shot, he added.
Chechen deputy prosecutor Viktor Russkikh launched an investigation Friday after the discovery of a grave containing six men in the same area.
The Russian military command said six Chechen fighters had been killed in the last 24 hours, the Itar-Tass agency reported.
Russian soldiers had arrested 29 people suspected of collaborating with the rebels, said Interfax – MOSCOW (AFP)
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