Eleven Russian soldiers killed in Chechnya

Eleven Russian soldiers were killed in an ambush in Chechnya, an unidentified official at the Russian forces headquarters in the separatist republic was quoted as saying by the Interfax-AVN news agency early on Tuesday.

The eleven men, who served with the Russian interior ministry forces, died after they were attacked by Chechen rebel fighters in Chechnya’s central Urus-Martan region Monday.

Some of the men, driving in a car, “fell into an ambush last Monday. The rebel fighters blew up the car and shot at the soldiers,” the official said, without elaborating.

A Russian armored vehicle then came to the men’s rescue, but Chechen fighters also blew it up and started shooting at its passengers as well, the official added.

As a result, “11 soldiers were killed, five were injured and one is missing,” the official said.

Earlier this month, Chechnya’s pro-Russian president Akhmad Kadyrov was killed in a blast in central Grozny that also cost the lives of at least six other people.

Chechnya’s renegade rebel leader Shamil Basayev on Monday reportedly claimed responsibility for the blast, in a statement posted on the rebels’ website kavkazcenter.com.

Russia poured troops into Chechnya in 1999 in what was supposed to be a quick “anti-terror” operation, which quickly degenerated into a guerrilla conflict that simmers to this day. - Sapa-AFP

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