Russia: August 1, 2002

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Follow-on to earlier reports of Islamic rebel infiltrators from Georgia, Federal positions came under fire 13 times on the 29th (ten were night-time attacks). Russian troops and rebels clashed twice in the Itum-Kale district on the night of the 29th and by morning of the 30th, Federal forces had eliminated more than half of the rebel group that had crossed into Chechnya from Georgia. The Russians had allowed the two groups (totally 60 fighters) to move six miles into Chechnya before attacking, and the survivors are reportedly surrounded with any retreat routes back to Georgia blocked. The official tally on 31 July was 28 rebels KIA from both Itum-Kale groups KIA (since 27 July), while the Federal Border Guard Service denied rebel reports that 39 border guards were killed and 50 wounded during five days of fighting in the area.

Federal forces executed 16 special operations in the Nozhai-Yurt, Shali, Shatoi, Kurchaloi and Urus-Martan districts on 29 July, killing 11 rebels and detaining 65 suspects. The Federals also found and destroyed 18 small-arms, 18 artillery shells, 12 portable antitank grenade launchers, about 20 lbs of explosives and 23,000 cartridges. SU-24 Fencer bombers and SU-25 Frogfoot attack planes flew eight sorties over Chechnya on 29 - 30 July, while MI-24 Hind helicopters flew about 30 missions to cover federal units, escort military convoys and attack rebel groups. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry officially blamed Georgia for the latest rebel invasion on the 31st, having repeatedly warned Georgia about the need to take effective measures. Moscow is "fed up" with what it perceives are contradictory lies coming from the Georgians, to the point that they believe that one cannot really expect any stable, constructive and friendly relations between the two countries under such conditions. Foreign Minister Ivanov presented these issues directly to US Secretary of State Colin Powell during a meeting in Brunei - Adam Geibel

 

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