Chechen Rebels Free Russian Soldiers

Associated Press

Eight Russian soldiers held by Chechen rebels were released Saturday, the Interfax news agency said.

The soldiers were taken captive Tuesday during an attack at Vedeno, a rebel stronghold 30 miles southeast of the Chechen capital, Grozny. There was no explanation for why the soldiers were released.

Eighteen Russian servicemen were killed in Tuesday's attack, and the Russian command has threatened to retaliate.

Under a shaky July 30 agreement, rebels began disarming and the Russians began reducing their forces in the breakaway republic. But there has been shooting virtually every day, and attacks on Russian military personnel and officials are on the rise.

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