Russians run into counter-attack from Chechens

ENTRENCHED REBELS kept advancing Russian forces out of the coveted centre of Chechnya's capital, Grozny, yesterday, while militants attacked federal troops blocking rebel supply routes in the southern mountains. Elsewhere in the breakaway republic, Russian troops failed to pierce guerrilla defences in eastern Chechnya and reported rebels were attacking the Russian-held north.

The Russians pushed on with their six-day-old offensive to seize Grozny, though commanders said they were moving cautiously because the roads were heavily mined. Russian artillery battered the city from all sides, and the military said Russian jets flew 12 combat missions over Grozny in 24 hours. The Russian military reported fierce fighting in the capital's eastern districts, where federal forces have been trying to establish control. But there was no sign in central Grozny of Russian forces or allied, pro-Moscow Chechen militia.

At least 15 oil wells were ablaze on the southern edge of the capital, sending black columns of smoke billowing into the air. "All Russian attempts to reach the city centre have failed," Mumadi Saidayev, chief of staff of the Chechen forces, said yesterday. "In some areas, we have managed to push the Russians back. We have left some quarters on the outskirts because they were difficult to defend."

The Chechen President, Aslan Maskhadov, said: "The military initiative rests entirely in the hands of the defenders of Grozny." He dismissed reports that the militants were preparing to abandon Grozny. Russian forces have seized the northern half of Chechnya and surrounded Grozny, the last big city still held by the rebels and the greatest political trophy. Commanders say they are focusing on the rugged southern mountains, where rebels are waging a guerrilla campaign from their well-hidden cave bases.

In southern Chechnya, rebels tried to break through the Russian blockade of a key road the militants had used to ferry supplies from neighbouring Georgia, said Colonel Sergei Bundarev, a Russian border guards commander. He said the rebels were stopped, and no troop casualties were reported. Russian forces were also fighting to take control of two mountain villages on Chechnya's eastern border with the Russian republic of Dagestan - Zandak- Ara and Zandak. Twelve rebels were killed and two of their military vehicles were destroyed on Wednesday, said a Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman. (AP)

t Russia says theUS President, Bill Clinton, wants to visit Moscow in the spring, but the White House said there was no such trip planned. It would be Mr Clinton's first visit since a worsening in ties over the Kosovo crisis and Chechnya.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
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

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?