Fighting in Chechnya intensifies

By Caroline Wyatt 

BBC Moscow correspondent 

There has been fierce fighting between Russian

soldiers and Chechen rebels in the breakaway republic

of Chechnya, where the conflict has dragged on for

almost two years. 

The fighting appears to have been the biggest battle

of the summer, with the Russians saying they killed up

to 30 rebels and the Chechens claiming to have killed

40 Russians. 


Despite Russia's earlier insistence that the conflict

was all but over, Chechen rebels engaged Russian

troops near the border with the neighbouring former

Soviet state of Georgia. 

At the same time, Georgia has accused Russia of

sending combat aircraft to raid its territory, on the

pretext of attacking Chechen rebels in the mountainous

border region. 

Russia has denied it, but accused Georgia of providing

a base for what it terms "international terrorists",

Chechen rebels and others hiding in the Pankisi Gorge,

from which to attack Russian troops in Chechnya. 

War threat 

Georgia said the Russian attacks amounted to

aggression against a neighbouring sovereign state. 

The tension is escalating just as US Army officers in

Georgia prepare to train Georgian troops to fight

international terrorism. 

Some leading politicians in Russia have warned that

unless Georgia deals with the rebels, Russian troops

will go into Georgia to deal with it themselves. 

If Russia carries out that threat, it could lead to a

new war in an already unstable region.


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