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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Violence in Chechnya Continues Apace

Reuters reports on more abject humiliation for Russia in Chechnya:

Two Russian soldiers and four separatist rebels died in a gun fight in Chechnya on Tuesday just two days after Russia's defence minister said the conflict was over. A Russian military spokesman said the shootout happened near Gudermes, hometown of the Moscow-backed prime minister Ramzan Kadyrov. "We have identified two of the rebels and are working on the identities of the other two," the spokesman said. He said Russian soldiers attacked rebels who were hiding in a trench. Russian leaders characterise the southern republic of Chechnya, where Russia has fought two wars since 1994, as a stable province undergoing reconstruction. Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov told a meeting of global security chiefs in Munich on Sunday that Chechnya was an example of how nation-states could defeat terrorism. "I think we have scored a success in Chechnya," Interfax news agency quoted Ivanov as saying. "The problem has been solved and it has taken five years to do this. It is a small territory compared with Afghanistan or Iraq." But Chechen separatists, many of whom say they are fighting in the name of Islam, are able to launch attacks on Russian forces from their mountain hideouts. Security analysts say violence in Chechnya has spilled over into neighbouring Ingushetia and Dagestan, where bombings and shootouts are frequent. On Sunday a roadside bomb killed two Russian soldiers in Dagestan.

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