On orders from Chechen chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov, Chechen forces released October 28 the Russian prisoners taken in their October 24 attack near Vedeno, which killed at least 18 Russian soldiers and destroyed five APCs. On the 29th, amid the local population’s triumphant cheers, the Russian mechanized regiment stationed near Vedeno withdrew its more than 40 tanks and APCs to the outskirts of Grozny, instead of retaliating against the Chechen villages as it had threatened to do after the October 24 attack. Maskhadov said that he had no idea who attacked the Russians, just as the Russian command had been unable to identify those who recently bombed Roshni-Chu. Spokesmen for both sides claimed that the Russians withdrew from the Vedeno area because local Chechens had earlier handed over their weapons under the armistice agreement. (4)
The claim of a quid pro quo may be a face-saver for the Russian side’s decision to refrain from retaliating and, moreover, to disengage from the area. The Chechen forces near Vedeno had enough left, even after they had been "disarmed," to mount the devastating October 24 attack. Retaliation may have been messy.
Elsewhere in Chechnya, at least 7 Russian soldiers were killed in sporadic low-level fighting October 27 through 30, according to the Russian command. (5)
Russian-Sponsored Group Said to Attack Russian Soldiers.