January 4, 2000
MOSCOW, JANUARY 3: Russian military officials on Monday claimed Russian troops had taken key strategic heights near the Chechen capital Grozny in a move of considerable importance for the further progress of the campaign to drive out Islamic rebels, Itar-Tass news agency reported.
But Russian NTV television carried a far less favourable report on the Chechen assault. Russian soldiers in Chechnya rejected official claims that Russian forces had also taken the northwestern Grozny district of Staropromyslovski.
The NTV report said Russian special forces and pro-Russian Chechen militias had suffered setbacks in their Chechnya campaign. Casualty figures were considerably higher than those officially admitted by Russian military officials.
According to the NTV report, there had been instances of Russian forces coming under “friendly fire”, or being shelled by their own artillery. Russia’s interim president, Vladimir Putin, met the President of Ingushetia, Ruslan Aushev, on Sunday evening. No details of their talks were issued. Aushev has publicly come out against the Russian camaign in Chechnya, which borders Ingushetia.
Ingushetia has taken in some 200,000 refugees since Russia launched its campaign against Islamic rebels in the independence- minded republic three months ago.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines