ARSHTY, Russia — Fierce fighting in western Chechnya spilled over the border into the neighboring region of Ingushetia on Friday, with Russian troops advancing to the outskirts of an Ingush village, the Interfax news agency said.
Russian planes bombed mountain villages in the south of secessionist Chechnya, and rebel fighters turned back a Russian attack on Serzhen-Yurt in the east, Interfax said.
Russian troops were poised for major ground assaults against Chechen guerrillas in the southern mountains, Lt. Gen. Gennady Troshev, a top commander, told the Itar-Tass news agency.
The Russians say Arshty, an Ingush village just west of Chechnya and 37 miles from the Chechen capital of Grozny, harbors rebel fighters. Russian artillery has pounded the village.
The Ingush, who have close ethnic and religious ties to the Chechens, have long feared that the nearly 6-month-old war would spread to their region.