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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Yeltsin to See Maskhadov Despite Raids

President Boris Yeltsin said Monday that he still plans to meet with the leader of Chechnya in spite of a recent sharp increase in tensions.

Yeltsin said a meeting with Aslan Maskhadov would produce "most serious conclusions" about the future of relations between the federal government and the breakaway region, said Prime Minister Sergei Stepashin, who met with Yeltsin on Monday.

No date for the meeting has yet been announced. Yeltsin stressed that a lot of careful groundwork still had to be done, Interfax reported Stepashin as saying.

Relations took a new turn for the worse when two Russian helicopter gunships fired missiles on a Chechen rebel base last Friday. The attacks came after the rebels had twice attacked a Russian police checkpoint in neighboring Dagestan, Russian media said.

The Chechen government denied that any such attack had come from Chechen territory.

Russian special forces freed five hostages in Chechnya early Saturday, including a Russian soldier who had been held captive for more than 11 months, an Interior Ministry spokesman said.

Their release followed the freeing of two Orthodox priests and five soldiers Thursday.

The hostages freed Saturday included three policemen from neighboring Ingushetia and two Russian servicemen.

One of the hostages, army Captain Vitaly Korotin, was kidnapped last June 16 at a market in Ingushetia in an attack by Chechen gunmen, Itar-Tass said. His brother was killed in the attack.