Beginning of this week in Chechnya turned out to be pretty hot. After usual daily reports about acts of sabotage and attacks by Chechen troops, which Russian side virtually never comments on, Kadyrov Jr.'s admission that he lost as many as 18 members of his personal gang formation sounded quite unexpected. It was unexpected for Russian ordinary citizens, but not for people in Chechnya, who know full well that a couple of dozen of killed invaders and collaborators is a daily combat routine in war-torn Chechnya.
Battles in Avtury were not the only operation that Chechen Resistance Forces conducted on that day. On Tuesday, when Russian media reported that Avtury was blocked ones again and that the village was undergoing a 'cleansing' (a 'sweep operation'), another trouble happened in Chechen capital Jokhar (former Grozny). Abramov, who took Akhmad Kadyrov's spot due to the fact that the latter one departed and is no longer with us, almost got killed too. Russian media reported that the acting head of the puppet administration Abramov was just about to follow his former boss when a 152-mm shell exploded in the Chechen capital. But he lucked out, which you can't say about his bodyguards and his assistant.
Just as it was expected, the invaders' command reacted to another success of Chechen Armed Forces with a poweful 'digital response'.
First, the number of 'militants killed' was sharply increased in the reports from Russian main base in Khankala, Chechnya. The number of counted dead bodies (which are never shown) was up to 24, since the first figure of 8 'terrorists killed' did not fit into the correct picture of the results of the battle, compared to 18 corpses of Kadyrov's collaborators.
Second, Russian spokesman for the war in the Caucasus Shabalkin drastically reduced the number of collaborators killed, fromn 18 down to 5, but he added 4 puppet pro-Moscow policemen to them.
Third, in accordance with the tradition, the results of the inventory of weapons that the Fighters (Mujahideen) left behind were announced. But this time the arsenal found by Shabalkin was not that impressive. Just some three miserable grenade-launchers and one semiautomatic submachine gun, not counting the ammo and about five pieces of hand grenades. Not too much, if you figure that the weapons were discovered on as many as 25 'militants' killed. Unless the militants were ninjas and attacked the collaborators barehanded.
But the whole thing probably is that there were not 20 Chechen Fighters, as Shabalkin was careless enough to report at first, but there were over a hundred of them, as Shabalkin himself specified later on when he told journalists the corrected version of the events in Avtury. If it was really so, then Shabalkin (who already got promoted to a general) apparently made a hint that the 76 Fighters who remained alive took the weapons with them.
Fourth, by nightfall the same restless Shabalkin subtracted 9 from the 24 Mujahideen killed and came up with a new figure: 15 'militants' killed, «whose identities are now being established».
Throughout the whole Monday and Tuesday Kavkaz Center's editors never received any reports about the events in Avtury from the Chechen side. So, they had to be quoting the reports released by the Russian side. But July 13 at about 9:15 PM Spokesman of the Military Council of State Defense Council Majlis al-Shura of CRI (Chechen Republic of Ichkeria) contacted Kavkaz Center and reported the following:
Monday July 12 at about 1 PM local time a unit of Chechen Armed Forces of 150 troops entered the village of Avtury and attacked a group of Kadyrov's collaborators. After a short battle the collaborators left that village and virtually put up no resistance. When pursuing the collaborators, Chechen troops exited the village and took positions one kilometer away from the village. This is where they had a combat with a unit of Russian Spetznaz (special forces) and formations of mercenaries from various formations of the invaders. The battle lasted until about 7 PM local time. The Chechen side reported that the invaders lost 15 to 20 commandos and withdrew towards Shali and towards the Avtury poultry farm, where units of Russian military intelligence (GRU, Main Intelligence Directorate) are stationed.
By about 8 PM columns of Kadyrov's collaborators and Russian invaders started advancing towards the positions of Chechen Armed Forces from the direction of Shali and the poultry farm. But Chechen troops were the first to make an advancement and attack the enemy. At about 11 PM Chechen troops started withdrawing towards the woodland and imitating a retreat. This is where they set up an ambush against an advanced unit of Kadyrov's collaborators, which was dispatched to pursue. Virtually the entire pursuit unit was defeated in successful combat operations by Chechen Armed Forces.
The battles continued until dawn. By the morning of June 13 main forces of Chechen troops withdrew into the woodland. No attempts to pursue were made by Russians or by Kadyrov's collaborators. Throughout the entire Tuesday Russian warplanes and artillery were carrying out strikes south of Avtury and Serzhen-Yurt, as well as on the gorge of the Hulhulo River. The village of Avtury is now blocked.
Chechen side reported that the overall casualties sustained by Russian invaders and Kadyrov's collaborators were at least 45 to 50 killed and dozens wounded. Locals of Shali have confirmed that dozens of Russians and Kadyrov's collaborators were brought to the hospital and many of them died. So, right now there are probably even more casualties involved.
Spokesman of the Chechen Command said that during the battles on July 12-13 near Avtury 5 Mujahideen fell in action and 11 were wounded. Two Mujahideen are missing in action.Department of Strategic Information,Kavkaz-Center
Publication time: 14 July 2004, 00:34
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