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World IN BRIEF : RUSSIA : Dozens Killed in Chechen Fighting

February 21, 1996|From Times Wire Reports

Russian forces pushed rebels to the outskirts of a stronghold in eastern Chechnya in heavy fighting that reportedly killed dozens on both sides. Fleeing townspeople said that Novogroznensky was ablaze and that civilians remained trapped there, contrary to Russian reports. As many as 170 rebels and about 30 Russian soldiers were killed in the fighting, said the Russian military commander in Chechnya, Gen. Vyacheslav Tikhomirov. Russian reports said up to 1,000 separatist guerrillas had been in the town, 25 miles east of the Chechen capital, Grozny, and had built fortifications and underground command sites there. Russian forces began moving in on Novogroznensky about a week ago, saying it had become a staging base for terrorist attacks.

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