Chechen fighters kill nine captured Russian soldiers

Chechen rebels said yesterday that they had killed nine Russian paramilitary police captured in an ambush after Moscow refused to hand over a colonel accused of raping and murdering a Chechen woman.

Chechen rebels said yesterday that they had killed nine Russian paramilitary police captured in an ambush after Moscow refused to hand over a colonel accused of raping and murdering a Chechen woman.

The men were captured when a special-forces unit was wiped out in an attack by guerrillas near Zhani-Vedeno, in the mountains of southern Chechnya. Forty-three of those killed came from Perm, in the Urals. The Chechens had threatened to kill their prisoners unless Russia handed over Colonel Yuri Budanov within three days. Yesterday the Chechen website said: "The captives were executed at 8am. The Chechen side is ready to exchange the corpses of the Omon (special police) from Perm for wounded mujahideen (Chechen fighters)."

The murders, which Russia denounced as a publicity stunt, underline the ferocity of the fighting in the mountains as Russian forces try to break up the main guerrilla detachments before the spring foliage provides them with cover from air attacks.

Shamil Basayev, a leading rebel commander, said that the guerrillas would start to counter-attack from 15 April.

Although the rebels suffered heavy losses in the mountains, they have shown by ambushes in the past six weeks that they can still defeat isolated Russian units, usually numbering 100 men, and prevent reinforcements reaching them.

Despite these setbacks, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president-elect, said yesterday that all was going to plan, although he expected guerrilla counter-attacks after the snow melts in the mountains. Russian military headquarters was quoted as saying "the movement of fighters in Chechnya has become increasingly active. The fighters are shooting at lookout posts, checkpoints and sub-divisions of the forces even in daylight."

In the last Chechnya war, in 1994-96, the Russians pinned down the guerrillas in the mountains in winter but could not stop them moving back into the plains around Grozny, the capital, once leaves on the trees gave them cover.

The increasing savagery of the war makes it less likely Russia will accept effective international monitoring of rights abuses in Chechnya. The Council of Europe is to decide today on Russia's continued membership after a visit to Chechnya by Mary Robinson, the UN human rights commissioner, who was unable to gain access to the "filtration" camps she had asked to see.

Russia has 93,000 troops in Chechnya but is short of well- trained units and specialised equipment such as night sights. The rebels have lacked food and medicines since their retreat from Grozny. Once the snow melts along the border with the neighbouring republic of Georgia, they will hope to bring in fresh supplies.

* The Russian security services arrested an American on spying charges in Moscow in the latest of a rash of espionage cases involving the countries.

The FSB security service said the man, whom it did not name, managed a private company but had previously worked as a career intelligence officer. A Russian who specialised in defence development work was also arrested.

"The evidence suggests the foreigner has for a long time been establishing contacts with Russian scientists in Moscow, Novosibirsk and other cities with a view to collecting state secrets", the FSB said. Russian radio that last year 65 foreign intelligence agents were detained with 30 Russians working for them. The US embassy refused to comment.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
Australia vs New Zealand live
cricket Follow over-by-over coverage as rivals New Zealand and Australia face off
News
Zayn has become the first member to leave One Direction. 'I have to do what feels right in my heart,' he said
peopleWe wince at anguish of fans, but his 1D departure shows the perils of fame in the social media age
Life and Style
Researchers found that just 10 one-minute swill-and-spit sessions are enough to soften tooth enamel and make teeth vulnerable to erosion
health
News
i100
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
The Regent Street Cinema’s projection room in the 1920s
film
News
Leah Devine is only the ninth female to have made the Young Magician of the Year final since the contest began more than 50 years
peopleMeet the 16-year-old who has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year
News
Jonathan Anderson was born in Northern Ireland but now based between London, where he presents a line named JW Anderson
peopleBritish designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
News
Andy Davidhazy at the beginning (left) and end (right) of his hike
video
News
Taylor Swift is applying to trademark song lyrics from 1989
people
Voices
The popularity of TV shows such as The Liver Birds encouraged Liverpudlians to exaggerate their Scouse accent
voicesWe exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Junior Web Designer - Client Liaison

£6 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a gro...

Recruitment Genius: Service Delivery Manager

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Service Delivery Manager is required to join...

Recruitment Genius: Massage Therapist / Sports Therapist

£12000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A opportunity has arisen for a ...

Ashdown Group: Practice Accountant - Bournemouth - £38,000

£32000 - £38000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful accountancy practice in...

Day In a Page

Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor
How to make your own Easter egg: Willie Harcourt-Cooze shares his chocolate recipes

How to make your own Easter egg

Willie Harcourt-Cooze talks about his love affair with 'cacao' - and creates an Easter egg especially for The Independent on Sunday
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef declares barbecue season open with his twist on a tradtional Easter Sunday lamb lunch

Bill Granger's twist on Easter Sunday lunch

Next weekend, our chef plans to return to his Aussie roots by firing up the barbecue
Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

Joe Marler: 'It's the way I think the game should be played'

The England prop relives the highs and lows of last Saturday's remarkable afternoon of Six Nations rugby
Cricket World Cup 2015: Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?

Cricket World Cup 2015

Has the success of the tournament spelt the end for Test matches?
The Last Word: Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Justin Gatlin knows the price of everything, the value of nothing