The Russian foreign minister has warned that Moscow will use whatever means necessary to restore order in Chechnya if peace talks break down.
Russian planes buzzed the Chechen capital and there were sporadic clashes today (Tuesday) as the stalemate between the Russian invasion force and Chechen fighters continues.
But the fighting did not halt a second day of peace talks in North Ossetia between Chechen government officials and Russian delegates.
The Itar-Tass news agency reported that Russian troops plan to seal off Grozny by the end of Tuesday.
Quoting military sources, it said the force would "blockade" the Chechen capital and disarm "unlawful formations".
Moscow says the invasion is aimed at ending "armed extremism" in the breakaway republic, which declared independence from Russia in 1991.
In a display of strength, Russian jets buzzed Grozny Tuesday morning.
But despite the action, Kremlin officials insist there will be no assault on Grozny.
They also deny reports suggesting Russian planes bombed the city of 400-thousand people on Monday night.
And there were sporadic outbursts of gunfire throughout the day on the outskirts of Grozny.
At one point, Russian jets pounded the Russian Cossack village of Pervomaiskoye, just outside the capital.
Several rockets hit the village - helicopter gunships and at least four warplanes joined in the attack.
As the Russian forces advance, Chechen forces continue preparing for a possible violent confrontation.
They have been joined by numbers of volunteers, armed with assault rifles and rocket- propelled grenades.
Meanwhile, Kremlin officials have issued their first casualty report, saying nine Russian servicemen were killed and 14 wounded since the invasion force was deployed.
Despite the continued fighting, Chechen government officials and Russian delegates have resumed peace talks in Vladikavkaz, capital of the republic of North Ossetia.
The negotiators say both sides want an agreement, but they remain at odds over Russia's demand that Chechen forces put down their weapons.
Russia has offered to help rebuild Chechnya's economy, restore electricity and send food in exchange for an agreement to disarm.
But Chechen officials insist Moscow withdraws its forces first.
Russian Foreign Minister Andrei Kozyrev has already warned that if the talks break down, Moscow will take whatever action in necessary to restore order in the breakaway republic.
And Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin has defended the unpopular decision to send soldiers to Chechnya.
He said Russia's only mistake had been to wait three years before acting against the republic.
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Jul 21, 2015