Russian Troop Killed in Chechnya Amid New Year Tension
A Russian soldier was killed and two others wounded in a shootout with rebels in the Chechen capital Grozny, as tension mounted in the run-up to New Year's Eve, ITAR-TASS cited federal sources saying Sunday.
The attack occurred late Saturday when separatist rebels launched a grenade at an armored personnel carrier, the federal command in the north Caucasus told the agency.
The area was later "mopped up" by Russian artillery fire, according to the same source.
In a separate incident, a pro-Russian policeman was wounded in a clash early Sunday with Chechen fighters in the southeast district of Kurchaloi, ITAR-TASS reported.
The incidents occurred as Russian forces beefed up security in the breakaway republic amid fears of escalating violence over the New Year holiday.
Grozny was effectively a closed city Sunday after roads in and out of the capital were sealed by federal troops. Traffic on the north Caucasus federal highway was also banned.
Border crossings into the neighboring republic of Dagestan, into the south Russian region of Stavropol, and the Kavkaz-1 checkpoint between Chechnya and Ingushetia, another Russian republic, were also closed, military sources told ITAR-TASS -- MOSCOW (AFP)
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