Russia: July 2, 2002


Federal forces started a special operation in southern Chechnya on June 30, with paratroopers landing in the mountains that morning and blocking a group of rebels. Colonel General Vladimir Moltenskoi, commander of the Joint Federal Force in the Northern Caucasus told reporters in Grozny that they expected the rebel group will be completely destroyed by the end of 1 July.

Moltenskoi did not specify where the military operation was conducted, but the pro-rebel Kavkaz news service reported that a large group of paratroopers in Chechnya's southern district, between Nozhai-Yurt and Vedeno Districts. The Chechens also claimed to have attacked these paratroopers near Enikaloy village on the morning of the 1st and killed 15 in close combat, then threw their bodies over a precipice. The other paratroopers retreated in disorder and the rebels gave chase for several hours, while helicopters tried to rescue the Russians. The rebels admitted to losing one fighter killed and two wounded.

The Russian paratrooper forces command denied the stories of considerable losses on the 2nd, stating that the paratroopers stationed in Chechnya were not involved in clashes nor had they suffered any losses in the past 24 hours. General Moltenskoi said the special operations against rebel groups were conducted routinely and yielded significant results. - Adam Geibel

Federal troops in Chechnya learned on 2 July that Chechen rebels are planning a massive terrorist attack on the highway connecting Baku and Rostov-on-Don. There are reports that Iriskhanov's and Umarov's groups active in the Ingush districts bordering Chechnya have recently acquired several household gas tanks. The gas tanks were delivered to the Samashki forest in Chechnya for an attack on that part of the highway, but their exact whereabouts were unknown. The rebels have also recently tried to acquire grenade launchers and Shmel flame-throwers from Federal servicemen, with the help of "stooges" (which Russian intelligence considers indirect confirmation of rebels' activity in the area). - Adam Geibel


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