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The BBC's Bridget Kendall reports
"For days, Chechen fighters have been insisting the general is alive"
 real 28k

The BBC's Andrew Harding reports
"Russian control over the city is extremely limited"
 real 28k

Sunday, 23 January, 2000, 17:36 GMT
Russian general's body found

federal troops Russian soldiers pound a village outside Grozny

The body of a Russian general has been found in Chechnya, according to a senior Kremlin official.

Battle for the Caucasus
Major-General Mikhail Malofeyev, who was commanding a unit in the capital, Grozny, was reported missing last week.

Chechen rebels said they had captured and interrogated him and were going to release a videotape.

Grozny Fierce street fighting continues in the capital
But a spokesman for acting Russian President Vladimir Putin said the general's body had been recovered in the area where he was killed in battle. He said the body had been found wtih bullet holes in it.

There has been no independent confirmation of the Kremlin's annoucement.

Correspondents say there is little doubt that the Chechen claim to have captured a Russian general was an added propaganda blow in what is proving to be a difficult campaign.

Hoisting the Russian flag

General Malofeyev is the first Russian general to be killed in action after federal forces entered Chechnya last October.

Fierce fighting is reported to be continuing in the capital of the breakaway republic.

In one residential area of the city, Chechen militiamen fighting on the Russian side hoisted a flag to demonstrate their control of the district.

But a BBC correspondent on the border of Chechnya and Ingushetia said Russia's control over the city is extremely limited, nearly a week after federal troops launched what they called their decisive assault.

Slow progress

Troops trying to advance into the centre of the city admit that their progress is still painfully slow.

The advance is being met with strong rebel resistance, according to military sources who say progress is measured in hundreds of metres - any advance of more than 300 metres a day is considered a success.

Russian forces earlier claimed to have made an important breakthrough in capturing the large Chechen village of Vedeno, the home of Chechen field commander, Shamil Basayov.

The village in the southern mountains lies on a strategic rebel supply and escape route and has been under sustained attack for weeks.

The Chechens acknowledge that they have withdrawn from the village.

Russia also says that Chechen leader Aslan Maskhadov has been wounded in fighting in the southern mountains.

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See also:
23 Jan 00 |  Media reports
Russian TV accuses military of censorship
23 Jan 00 |  Europe
In pictures: Chechen campaign
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
High-flying career of missing general
22 Jan 00 |  Europe
Russian 'breakthrough' in Chechnya
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
Chechen refugees 'body searched'
18 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Russians learn from past mistakes

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