Battle of Vedeno
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The battle started on 13 August 2001, when Chechen rebels seized the village of Benoi-Yurt, attacked the local military commandant's office, and placed checkpoints on a strategic road that leads further south to the town of Vedeno. Pro-Moscow administrators were reportedly killed by the rebels. Fierce fighting continued the next day on 14 August, described as the "heaviest attack by Chechen fighters in the past seventeen months."[according to whom?] Russian sources denied reports by independent agencies, claiming that the situation was under control; however, federal reinforcements were immediately sent to the area. Russian presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky called the latest developments "an imitation of activity by 'the gangs'."
The Russian army began firing SCUD missiles at Vedeno on 15 August. Meanwhile, rebels hit a military helicopter with a grenade launcher near Tsa Vedeno, resulting in its crash and the deaths of both its pilots. Two days later on 17 August, Chechen fighters shot down a third helicopter, then-incumbent minister of information Movladi Udugov. The news was partly denied by Russian officials, who only admitted to two helicopters having been shot down.
The Russian government announced on 22 August that the army had wounded Shamil Basayev, the country’s most wanted man who killed more than 35 other rebels in Chechnya, while a pro-rebel website insisted more than 40 Russians had died in fierce fighting, including 14 in two separate ambushes.
On 26 August, Chechen rebels reportedly managed to seize control of Vedeno. At the same time, Russian media, citing military sources, reported an upsurge in the number of attacks on federal forces in Chechnya's northern districts, which were previously regarded as having been pacified.
- Russian Military Helicopter Crash in Chechnya Kills 2 Pilots, People's Daily, August 17, 2001
- Top Chechen rebel hurt, 35 dead, Reuters, August 22, 2001
- Monthly news, Prague Watchdog, August 2001
- REBEL FORCES CLAIM THEY SEIZED VEDENO, Jamestown Foundation, August 30, 2001