Russian troops attack Chechen raiders

PETER GRAFF

Agence France-Presse

Argun - Russian troops attacked Chechen rebels who seized key buildings in the town of Argun, throwing the entire Chechnya peace process into doubt. Heavy artillery and helicopter rocket fire could be heard in the area around the police station and neighbouring buildings which were seized by hundreds of Chechen rebel fighters on Sunday.

Exchanges of fire indicated close-quarter fighting. The noise went on for about three hours, well after Russian authorities in Chechnya announced a successful conclusion to the operation. Residents said civilians were trapped in the besieged neighbourhood and later reports said fighting was spreading.

The leader of the raid, Alaudi Khamzatov, said he had 400 men and that he had been ordered to go back and take control in Argun, 10 miles east of Grozny, by Chechnya's separatist President Dzhokhar Dudayev. Argun was captured by the Russians in March after four months of intensive fighting. Mr Khamzatov was one of the Chechen leaders.

On 30 July, a military accord was reached under which the Chechens were to disarm and most Russian troops were to pull out. But few of the conditions have been fulfiled. Vladimir Yanchenko, the Russian spokesman in Grozny, called the raid on Argun "a gross violation of the military accord". But the Chechen military leader Aslan Maskhadov, who is one of the architects of the peace process, denied on Russian television that the fighters were violating the accord.

"The only thing that happened was that the fighters had gone back to their homes as agreed to in the accord.

The Russian military authorities were apparently informed that the town had been occupied by the fighters.

"The Russian military forces encircled the town and other fighters came to help those with Khamzatov," he said.

Sandor Meszaros, head of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, which is mediating the peace talks, called for peace before the battle began.

A Russian ultimatum to surrender by midday passed without incident.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • 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

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
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower