GROZNY, Russia – A gun battle broke out early Thursday in the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of Chechnya, leaving at least three traffic police officers and six gunmen dead, authorities said. The fighting punctured the patina of stability ensured by years of heavy-handed rule by a Kremlin-appointed leader.
The violence erupted hours before Russian President Vladimir Putin began his annual state of the nation address in Moscow. In his address, Putin said he was confident that local Chechen forces were capable of dealing with the « rebels, » who he suggested were receiving support from abroad.
Security officials said militants travelling in three cars entered the republic’s capital, Grozny, at 1 a.m. local time, killing three traffic police at a checkpoint. The Moscow-based National Anti-Terrorist Committee, a federal agency, said the militants then occupied the multi-story Press House in central Grozny, which was later destroyed by fire, killing six gunmen…
View original post 738 mots de plus