Europe

Chechnya: Russian soldiers killed in clash with insurgents

Russian troops take part in a military drill on Sernovodsky polygon close to the Chechnya border (19 March 2015) Image copyright AFP
Image caption Russian troops in Chechnya have faced a low level insurgency for years

Six Russian soldiers have been killed and several wounded in a clash with armed militants in Russia's region of Chechnya, security forces say.

The Russian National Guard says militants took advantage of heavy fog to try to storm one of its bases overnight on Thursday.

Six attackers are also said to have been killed in the gun battle.

Russian forces have fought two wars against Islamist separatists in Chechnya since 1994.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Chechen regional leader Ramzan Kadyrov has a strongman reputation and has quelled the insurgency

They still face a low-level insurgency in the mainly Muslim region in Russia's volatile North Caucasus area.

But clashes between the two sides have become less commonplace in recent years, correspondents say.

The insurgency has been quelled largely because of Chechnya's authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov, a close ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has ruled Chechnya since his forces, helped by massive Russian firepower, defeated separatist rebels between 1999-2009.

His much-feared militia, called the "Kadyrovtsy", have been accused of kidnapping, torture and other human rights abuses.

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