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City of Nalchik to be cordoned off
President Vladimir Putin has ordered that the besieged city of Nalchik be cordoned off to prevent any of the militants that attacked the North Caucasian city Thursday morning from escaping, Russia's first deputy interior minister said after a meeting with Putin. "All armed people offering resistance will have to be killed," Alexander Chekalin quoted Putin as saying. Chekalin said his forces intended to fulfill the order. "Those who put up resistance will be killed," he said. Chekalin said Defense Ministry, Interior Ministry and FSB units were engaged in the operation, the military being used to block the city. Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, currently in Luxembourg, will return to Russia Thursday night. The minister sent his deputy Andrei Novikov to coordinate operations in Nalchik. Presidential envoy in the Southern Federal District Dmitry Kozak said in Nalchik that 12 civilians and five policemen had been killed so far in the attack. "Most of the militants who had attacked the city's law enforcement bodies today were dispersed," he said. "There are two sites where armed clashes are continuing. Kozak denied reports that a school had been seized. "All these rumors about a school seizure and hostage-taking have not been confirmed," he said.
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