Security forces on Friday stormed a store held by the last terrorist holdouts in Nalchik, Russian media reported. Three terrorists in a souvenir store near the regional headquarters of the Federal Security Service were holding two hostages.
The storming came a day after Islamic militants launched a major attack on police and government buildings in Nalchik, a provincial capital in Russia's volatile Caucasus region, turning the city into a war zone wracked by gunfire and explosions.
Officials said at least 85 people were killed Thursday, including 61 attackers, and that militants were holding hostages at a police station hours after the heavy fighting died down. Chechen terrorists claimed responsibility for the offensive in Nalchik, the capital of the republic of Kabardino-Balkariya, which opened a new front in Russia's decade-old war against Islamic terrorists.
President Vladimir Putin, beleaguered by attacks that have killed hundreds of civilians and underscored his failure to bring the turbulent Caucasus under control, ordered a total blockade of Nalchik to prevent militants from slipping out and ordered security forces to shoot any armed resisters.
ITAR-Tass said that some terrorists tried to escape the city in a van but crashed into a tree and were surrounded and killed. It was unclear how many militants were in the vehicle.
NATO has no plans to deploy troops on the Ukrainian territory, Jens Stoltenberg said. French President Emmanuel Macron earlier did not rule out a possibility to send Western military forces there