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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Military: 10 Lost in Ambush




The military acknowledged Thursday it had lost 10 men in a battle with Chechen rebels that went badly wrong, and President-elect Vladimir Putin said commandos would strike back with vigor.


The rebels said they had killed up to 20 troops in an attack Wednesday near Serzhen-Yurt, 25 kilometers southeast of the regional capital, Grozny.


Colonel General Valery Manilov, first deputy chief of the General Staff, told a news conference the losses came on top of 37 troops killed in Chechnya over the last week, 16 in an ambush near the same village. Manilov said in Wednesday's incident a reconnaissance unit encountered a rebel force about three times its size. The unit's commander called in reinforcements and attacked the rebels.


During the battle, another group of rebels swooped in from the rear, killing 10 Russian troops, including the commander, he said.


"So far, the bodies of more than 23 bandits have been found. There may be more," Manilov said.


In response, Putin told ministers he would boost commando numbers in the mountains, where the rebels have stepped up attacks on his troops.


"Commandos will work in the mountainous part, where there are still bandits, and they will double their efforts," he said during a Cabinet meeting to consider how to rebuild Chechnya.


Troop strength in Chechnya now stands at 80,000, but the rebels have stopped Moscow from claiming victory by waging a guerrilla war.