On April 20, a large number of Russian federal troops were seen in the Nadterechny District of Chechnya, bordering Ingushetia, North Ossetia and Stavropol region, Novaya Gazeta reported, citing eyewitnesses.
The video, published by Novaya Gazeta, shows a number of Ural trucks and military tents, lined up along the highway in the vicinity of the villages of Bratskoye, Beno-Yurt and Znamenskoye in the north-west of the republic.
Local residents suggested that the appearance of military equipment is related to the exercises, but this version was not confirmed. In response to the newspaper’s request, the representatives of the Russian Southern Military District said that they had not sent additional troops into Chechnya at all. "The 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, which is stationed in the Republic, is engaged in routine combat training at its permanent location," the military spokesman said, without commenting on the appearance of soldiers in populated areas.
On April 5, the Chechen Republic was the first Russian region to announce the closure of its administrative borders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As of the evening of April 20, there were 264 cases of COVID-19 in Chechnya. Five people have died.