A group of Chechen fighters led by Dzhokhar Dudayev’s son-in-law Salman Raduyev seized a hospital and maternity ward in Kizlyar, Dagestan early this morning. Kizlyar is located approximately 70 miles northeast of Grozny in the autonomous Russian republic of Dagestan. About 60 Chechen fighters are reported to be holding 100 hostages, including residents of nearby apartment buildings, on the upper floors of the hospital. Unconfirmed reports put the number of hostages as high as 1000. Russian troops have poured into the town and now surround the fighters on the hospital’s lower floors. The Chechen group, known as "Lone Wolf," has refused to negotiate and is threatening to kill the hostages unless Russian troops leave Chechnya. Communications links to Kizlyar have been cut and fierce street fighting between Russian troops and Chechen fighters has been reported. Casualties are said to include 5 policemen and 5 civilians.
The hostage seizure is the second mounted by Chechen resistance fighters in recent months; 100 people were killed in June 1995 in a similar incident in the southern Russian town of Budennovsk.
Chechen fighters also tried to seize a nearby military airfield in Dagestan early today, where they destroyed two helicopters before being repulsed by Russian troops. Six Chechens were reported killed in the attack.
In Moscow, President Boris Yeltsin sharply criticized the government, Russian border troops, the security ministries, and the Security Council for having failed to prevent the crisis. Security in the Russian capital has been tightened. (1)
Serious Oil Spill in Bashkortostan.