An upsurge of rebel attacks killed nine Russian servicemen, and Chechens held a rally to demand that Russian forces leave their homeland, news reports said Tuesday.
The Russian command said rebel fire was concentrated on Grozny and towns and villages not far from the Chechen capital. The attacks took place late Monday and early Tuesday.
A July 30 agreement on disarmament and troop withdrawals has not brought stability to Chechnya. Russian representatives are complaining that the Chechens are not handing in their weapons quickly enough and the rebels are saying the Russians aren’t keeping their promise to withdraw.
Talks between between Russian and Chechen negotiators on working out a schedule for further troop withdrawals continued Tuesday, but the Russians failed to produce a detailed timetable.
The top Russian negotiator, Nationalities Minister Vyacheslav Mikhailov, insisted on a “rigorous timetable” for Chechen disarmament and reported some “differences of principle,” the ITAR-Tass news agency said.
Some military problems remain unresolved, and work has yet to begin on solving political problems, Mikhailov said.
Russia sent 40,000 troops into Chechnya in December to crush the tiny southern republic’s independence drive. Thousands of people have died in the ensuing war.