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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Lull in Chechnya as Russian Troops Stand By

Following several days of armed clashes and terror in the breakaway North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, fighting in the area subsided Friday and a standoff between President Dzhokhar Dudayev and the pro-Moscow opposition resumed.

Though news agencies reported Thursday that Dudayev had imposed martial law in Chechnya, the deputy head of Dudayev's official information agency Chechen-Press, Aslambek Dadayev, said nobody had yet seen the decree.

A 10 P.M. -- 6 A.M. curfew is currently observed in Chechnya in accordance with Dudayev's earlier orders. But Dadayev said the military leaders had asked the president to impose martial law on a full scale "to prepare to ward off a Russian invasion."

Russian land forces are preparing to hold an exercise near Chechnya's borders next week, according to Defense Ministry spokesman Colonel Nikolai Deryabin.

Deryabin said forces of the North Caucasus Military District will hold a staff exercise in the area between Sept. 20 and 24. The army spokesman explained that although only commanding officers are usually involved in staff exercises, some troops could actually perform field maneuvers if the commanders decide to check their combat readiness.

Dadayev of Chechen-Press said the Chechen authorities were observing Russian troop movements along the mountainous republic's borders.

"They are concentrating a lot of armored vehicles and troops, mostly officers, on our borders," Dadayev said. "But I don't think they will attack -- nobody wants blood to be spilled."

Russian Nationalities Minister Nikolai Yegorov, quoted by Segodnya newspaper, confirmed that Russia was going to continue watching the events in Chechnya without taking any action."We intend to restore the laws of the nation to Chechnya and ensure the safety of Russians living there only after the Chechens themselves decide whom they want in power in the republic," Segodnya quoted the minister as saying.