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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russian Forces Claim 9 Rebels Killed in Chechnya

GROZNY - Russian forces in rebel Chechnya killed nine insurgents in clashes around the republic in the past day, ITAR-Tass reported Monday.

The report did not specify sources for the information, but it came from Khankala, a main base for Russian troops in Chechnya.

According to the report, four rebels were killed in a village near the capital Grozny, four in Verkhny Arkun and one in the settlement of Yakhoi-Mokh.

The heavy fighting that characterized the first months of the Chechen conflict dissipated last spring, but since then rebels have mounted daily small attacks and ambushes. Russian officials have contended for months that the rebels are on the verge of defeat, but the hit-and-run attacks have continued to bleed the federal forces.

Rebel officials on Monday claimed 98 Russian servicemen have been killed since the beginning of the year and that only 24 rebels have died. But both sides are widely believed to exaggerate their claims of enemy kills and to downplay their own losses.

Figures from the pro-Kremlin Chechen civil administration have spoken of the deaths of about 30 Russian servicemen this year.

Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 at the end of a 20-month separatist war, but reentered in September 1999 following the incursion of Chechnya-based militants into the neighboring republic of Dagestan and the deaths of some 300 people in apartment bombings that Russia blames on the rebels.