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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security Tightened In Moscow

About 15,000 Russian troops are being deployed in Moscow to help city police patrol against the possibility of Chechen guerrilla violence over the Russian military's attack on Grozny, Russian television reported Monday.


The troops, equipped with armored personnel carriers, will guard vital objectives in the city, the report said.


The action followed an earlier announcement that Interior Ministry troops had been deployed around the outskirts of Moscow to check the influx of people into the city.


A spokesman for the Defense Ministry said, "We have reinforced the guarding of strategically important targets in Moscow, such as gasoline stations and the main roads into Moscow."


Moscow police have stepped up patrols of metro stations and public buildings since President Boris Yeltsin sent tanks and troops into rebel Chechnya last week to crush that republic's three-year bid for independence.


The U.S. Embassy in Moscow has issued a warning to its citizens about possible dangers "in connection with the Chechen conflict,'' Interfax reported.


Russian officials have accused Chechen leader Dzhokhar Dudayev of allowing his region, on Russia's southern rim in the Caucusus mountains, to become a haven for Russian and international terrorists.


Armored personnel carriers stood near Moscow's eight-lane outer Ring Road, where teams of soldiers checked cars entering the city. The checkpoints "are needed to prevent penetration by criminal elements,'' said a duty officer for the Interior Ministry.


Some observers, however, called the increased security a political move by Yeltsin. "Yeltsin knows the major debate is not in Chechnya but in Moscow,'' said Viktor Kremenyuk, deputy director of Russia's USA and Canada Institute.


Other Muscovites welcomed the sight of armed guards in train and subway stations. "It makes me feel safer, and it will help fight the criminals in Moscow,'' said Vladimir Chernousov, a 46-year-old factory worker.


Police have targeted people from the Caucasus region in previous security sweeps. (MT, Reuters, AP)