Russia: May 15, 2002


Russia's North Caucasus unified federal headquarters told the press on 14 May that rebel reinforcements will soon try to enter Chechnya.

A rebel courier from Azerbaijan carrying a huge sum of money was allegedly due to arrive in the Kirov-Yurt village of Chechnya's Vedeno district during the first half of May. The money is needed to fund an increase in sabotage and terrorist activities in Chechnya's southern and southeastern districts. 

After Khattab's death, the extremists' sponsors are trying to restore financing of guerilla groups so that they could step up their activities. Reports of numerous attempts to recruit people to execute sabotage acts indirectly confirms this allegation. Rebel cash is typically delivered to Chechnya through Georgia and Azerbaijan. 

Furthermore, two "kamikaze" women arrived in the Urus-Martan district in order to step up psychological pressure on local residents. They are supposedly targetting high-ranking federal command officials. 

Intelligence reports note that groups of young men have been leaving villages in Chechnya's Naurskaya, Nadterechny and Shelkovskaya districts over the past few weeks, to earn money from the rebels in southern and southeastern districts of Chechnya. The federal command suspects that some of those men are heading for the Vedeno, Shatoi and Nozhai-Yurt districts, to reactivate mothballed training bases as well as a warren of arms and munition caches. 

Two of these arms and ammo caches were discovered on the 13th. Federal Security Service (FSB) agents found one cache in a Makhety village mosque (in Chechnya's Vedeno district). This cache was small; four RPG-18 LAWs, two AK-74 assault rifles, four F-1 and RKG-3 hand grenades, as well as over 400 5.45X39mm cartridges. 

Another group of FSB agents from the Urus-Martan district, along with a unit of the local military commandant's office, found a dug-out in a forest. The dug-out had a cache containing an AK-74 assault rifle, two AKM assault rifles, a 152mm artillery shell, three 122mm artillery shells, an assault vest with six AK-74 loaded magazines and 720 7.62X39mm machine-gun cartridges. The dug-out and ammunition were blown up, while the weapons were handed over to the military prosecutor's office. 

Prominent field commander Ruslan Gelayev's guerilla group, currently hiding in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge, could also soon attempt to enter Chechnya from Dagestan. 
There are indicators that elements of Gelayev's unit already made one test sortie, as the Russian military spokesman admitted that "from late April to May 10, a group of about ten extremists managed to get to Chechnya through Dagestan, heading for Zandak, Sterch- Kerch, Benoi-Vedeno, and further presumably to Grozny". 

About 100 Gelayev supporters were staying in the Georgian villages of Iklo and Ibtsokhi in the Pankisi Gorge. The Russians feels that it would be impossible to for such a large group to slip into Chechnya secretly across the Russian-Georgian border. The spokesman elaborated "that is why rebels are making attempts at using the territory of adjacent republics for returning to Chechnya in small groups". 

These rebels will try to cross into Chechnya from Georgia and Dagestan in two- to four- strong groups, using pack animals to transport their arms, ammo and food. 
Federals units stepped up surveillance and reconnaissance, mined some border areas and are setting ambushes regularly. - Adam Geibel

Russian Army aviation helicopters flew 642 sorties in Chechnya during the second week of May. Helicopter crews can be tasked to fly up to 100 transport and combat sorties per day. They airlifted over 30 tons of cargo and about 2,400 people, while flying over 50 sorties covering troop movements and delivering 27 landing parties during the week. 

Army aviation helicopters also 23 fights escorting military supply trains. On 6 May, the North Caucasus Federal army aviation command was ordered to provide aerial coverage to all railway trains inside of Chechnya. Rebel groups had fired twice at transport helicopters in the first week of May, prompting the army aviation command to make several organizational, technical and tactical measures over the second weekend of the month. Where Mi-8 "Hips" had been flying cover missions, more Mi-24s were added to convoys transporting military cargo.

The MI-24 Hind fire support helicopters fly two to three combat sorties daily, escorting freight and passenger trains. They intend to prevent rebel direct-fire attacks, as well as sabotage and terrorist acts on the railway.

Aircraft conducting aerial reconnaissance found and destroyed two rebel groups that attempting to plant mines under the railroad near the Dzhalka terminal. 

Meanwhile, frontline (fixed-wing) aviation flew eight combat sorties; SU- 25 "Frogfoots" delivered six air strikes on rebel bases in Chechnya's mountains and two SU-24 "Fencer" missions were flown. As a result, two rebel groups on the move in southeastern Chechnya's forest-covered mountains were eliminated. - Adam Geibel


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