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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ingushetia to Sue Russia Over Attacks

NAZRAN, Southern Russia -- The Russian republic of Ingushetia is assessing damage and plans to sue Russia's Defense Department over attacks by the military on villages bordering Chechnya.

Itar-Tass said Tuesday that Ingush President Ruslan Aushev ordered officials to assess the material damage from the 58th Army's five-day deployment in Ingushetia.

Ingush officials say at least three people died and one is missing. Every window in Arshti, a town of about 3,000 people, was shattered; tanks wrecked roads and fields; and Russian troops left behind mines that threaten people and livestock, the officials say.

The Russians pulled out Monday after protests from Aushev and other Ingush officials and amid fears that the war between Moscow and Chechen separatists was spreading.

The fighting spread to Ingushetia last week after Chechen rebels hiding near Arshti ambushed a Russian force heading toward nearby Bamut, a separatist stronghold in Chechnya. Russian military officials said 14 servicemen were killed, including the force's commander, and 20 were wounded in the battle against some 200 rebel guerrillas.

Aushev said Russian troops shelled Arshti for three days in retaliation.

The Ingush government said Russian troops would not let civilians leave Arshti and had stopped a government aid convoy from reaching the village.

Russian forces were also deployed outside other Ingush villages along the Chechen border.

The Russian commander in the region, Lieutenant General Gennady Troshev, justified the move into Ingushetia by saying his forces were only heading for Chechnya for redeployment.

The Russian military has complained that Chechen guerrillas move freely in ill-defined border areas such as Arshti and blamed the Ingush government for doing nothing to stop them.