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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Chechnya Bans Russian Television

GROZNY -- The government of breakaway Chechnya has banned Russian television broadcasts in the republic following fighting between Russian troops and Chechnya's Islamic militants in a neighboring region.

The rebels crossed over from Chechnya into the southern Russian region of Dagestan early last month, seeking to establish an independent Islamic state. Russian troops drove them out after two weeks of heavy fighting, and threatened to go after the guerrillas even inside Chechnya.

Chechnya, which has been running its own affairs since 1996, declared a state of emergency in response to the threat. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov also banned the broadcasts of Russia's main television networks, ORT, RTR and NTV, this week.

Russia's press minister, Mikhail Lesin, on Thursday denounced the ban as "incomprehensible," and said Moscow "shall take all necessary measures to have broadcasts resume," Itar-Tass reported.

He didn't elaborate, and it wasn't clear how Moscow could enforce its wishes in Chechnya.

Chechnya briefly banned Russian television broadcasts when tensions with Moscow rose last year.