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MOSCOW — At least six gunmen and three policemen were killed in gunbattle as a building was stormed in the Chechen capital of Grozny on Thursday, the leader of the turbulent southern Russian region said. The attack, before Russian President Vladimir Putin was due to deliver his annual state of the union address in Moscow, underlines the fragile security situation in Chechnya more than a decade after he sent troops to quell separatists there. Chechnya's Kremlin-backed leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, wrote on his Instagram account that "six terrorists were annihilated" after they opened fire on a police patrol car, killing three officers, and then stormed offices housing local media.

A spokesman for the Russian Interior Ministry in Moscow said an unspecified operation was still under way in Grozny, but gave no other details. Russia's Tass news agency quoted Kadyrov as saying several gunmen remained holed up at a school in the city center. It was not clear whether any hostages had been taken. A video posted on YouTube showed what appeared to be footage of the clashes. It suggested the attackers had entered Grozny in an act of "retaliation" for what it called the oppression of Muslim women.


— Reuters