Chechens: Five Russian Soldiers Killed
Five Russian soldiers died and 20 were wounded in the past 24 hours in clashes with guerrilla fighters in Chechnya, the Chechen rebel leadership claimed on Thursday.
A spokesman for breakaway Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov told an AFP correspondent in neighbouring Ingushetia by telephone that rebel forces had attacked Russian troops 38 times during the past 24-hour period.
A five-hour armed clash broke out at night on the border with Dagestan, near the village of Zondak, where Chechen rebels launched an attack that temporarily dislodged soldiers from their positions, the spokesman said.
Five rebels were wounded, one seriously, in the war-torn territory during the last 24 hours, he added.
There was no independent confirmation available of the rebel claim.
Russian troops poured into the secessionist republic more than 18 months ago in a so far unsuccessful bid to crush guerrilla forces -- SLEPTSOVSK, Russia (AFP)