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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

6 Russian Soldiers Killed in Chechnya

GROZNY, Russia - A quiet, sunny day in the Chechen capital brought scores of people in the streets Thursday, as the war-ravaged city basked in the unusual spell of warmth and peace after weeks of shootouts and winter gloom.

No bombings or roar of warplanes was heard in Grozny, though Russian forces were blowing up dozens of small oil refineries on the outskirts of the city to stem illegal production of low-grade gasoline.

Still, six Russian soldiers were killed and at least 16 were wounded in fighting in the rebel region over the past 24 hours, and at least one pro-Moscow Chechen policeman was killed, an official said Thursday.

Aslan Maskhadov, a guerrilla commander elected as Chechnya's separatist president in 1997, released an appeal to his supporters, promising increased resistance to the Russians.

"Our forces have been regrouped, plans and dates to fulfill combat missions have been defined and distributed among field commanders, logistical tasks have been completed," Maskhadov said in the videotaped appeal, which was obtained by an Associated Press reporter Thursday.

"Fighting will become stronger every day, and the earth burns under the feet of the Russian invaders," Maskhadov said.

Maskhadov is believed to have only limited influence over other rebel commanders conducting persistent hit and run raids against Russian forces.

The Russian army rolled into Chechnya in 1999 after rebels based there attacked a neighboring region, and after apartment bombings in Moscow and two other Russian cities that were blamed on the rebels.

Russian officials say the war is winding down and have transferred command from the military to the Federal Security Service, the chief internal security and anti-terrorist organization.