RealNews

Fierce Fighting in Chechnya as Amnesty Takes Effect

Russian troops and Chechen police battled for a second day with rebels in an eastern Chechen town Saturday in fighting that killed at least 20 people, even as an amnesty offer to rebels came into effect. The amnesty, approved the day before by Russia’s parliament, was touted as a step toward peace, offering immunity from prosecution to rebels who give up their weapons by Sept. 1. But fighting persisted, particularly in Argun, a town in the eastern part of the war-ravaged republic where a convoy of Russian troops was ambushed by insurgents Friday, according to the Russian military. A Chechen military police commander, Aud Yusupov, was killed along with three Russian servicemen and two civilians, while 14 rebels were killed and 10 others escaped, said a Russian military spokesman, Ilya Shabalkin. Shabalkin said that by Saturday evening, the fighting was over. Elsewhere in Chechnya, Russian forces fired artillery at suspected rebel positions in several places, including the suburbs of the capital Grozny. Rebels carried out 18 attacks across the country on Russian positions Friday and Saturday, killing five servicemen and wounding seven others, an official in the region’s Moscow-backed administration said. Also, three Russian soldiers were killed by a mine in the capital, Grozny, and another died in a firefight while searching for rebels in a nearby village, the official said on condition of anonymity. Full Story

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