Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 13

Russian special troops yesterday conducted mop-up operations in Pervomayskoye after destroying the Dagestani village in three days of artillery and rocket bombardment. The total destruction of the village appears likely to have resulted in the deaths of an estimated 100 hostages held there by Chechen rebels. Despite repeated previous claims that most hostages had been killed by their captors, Russian authorities claimed yesterday to have freed 82 and reported 18 missing. The 18 hostages declared missing all belong to a Siberian OMON detachment detailed to the Caucasus. At least 30 members of that detachment surrendered to the Chechen rebels before the fighting began.

Official figures on Russian military losses announced yesterday — 26 killed and 93 wounded — were evidently understated. Russian headquarters also issued a body count of 153 Chechen fighters dead and 28 captured. The whereabouts of the Chechen commander, Salman Raduyev, remained unknown. Russian intelligence speculated that Raduyev might have escaped from the town at the last moment with a group of fighters. President Boris Yeltsin yesterday praised the operation for its "successful outcome with minimal losses" and commended the heads of the Federal Security Service and Internal Affairs Ministry for a job well done. (1)

Negotiations Continue with Black Sea Captors, Passengers Unhurt.