Chechen raids `recapture four villages'


Grozny - Chechen forces retook four villages outside Grozny in overnight raids, a rebel official claimed yesterday, as Russian commanders admitted their drive to take the capital was meeting tough resistance.

However, Russian military sources insisted that the villages would soon be recaptured. They also claimed that Russian troops had foiled a Chechen attempt to break through Russian lines surrounding parts of Grozny.

Fierce fighting took place in several of the capital's suburbs yesterday, with some Russian officers conceded that they were sustaining heavy losses due to well-planned Chechen defence tactics.