43 Russian Soldiers Killed in Zhani-Vedeno Ambush

first published on June 12, 2018 by

On March 29, 2000, a mechanized convoy of Russian Interior Ministry troops find themselves heavily outnumbered and outgunned in the southern Vedensky District of Chechnya. The Russian Interior Ministry force, led by Major Valentin Simonov, consisted of just under 50 men and was conducting a clearance operation in the village of Tsentoroi. The armored column was stopped by a vehicle break-down, and suddenly ambushed by an enemy group of 300 rebel fighters. This is the firefight as it was recorded by OMON officer Sergei Udachin.

2000 Zhani Vedeno ambush

On the morning of March 29, 2000, an armored column of Russian Interior Ministry troops, led by Major Valentin Simonov, were conducting a clearance operation in the village of Tsentoroi in the southern Vedensky District of Chechnya. That same morning, a nearby airborne unit intercepted radio transmissions from a rebel faction known as the Islamic International Brigade stating that they were preparing an ambush for the column. According to the Russian account of the events that occurred, 48 Interior Ministry troops were in the column, with 41 of those men being members of the OMON special police from Perm Krai, mostly from the city of Berezniki, and the other seven being actual Interior Ministry troops.

The Islamic International Brigade was a multi-national mujaheddin force that fought on the Chechen separatist side under Arab commander Ibn al-Khattab, and were led by their field commander, Abu Quteiba. They were also known as the Islamic International Peacekeeping Brigade and were formed in 1998. The unit was composed of between 400 and 1,500 militants, most of them Dagestanis (mainly Avars and Darginians), as well as Chechens, Arabs, Turks and other foreign fighters. The numbers they brought to the battle for this attack were somewhere between 200 and 300 fighters depending on which sources you check.

Zhani Vedeno

Major Valentin was the first casualty of the ambush as everything kicked off. While personally checking on a bombed out house near the halted column, he stumbled directly into a band of rebel fighters who were preparing their ambush and was instantly killed, initiating the ambush against the Russian troops. Seconds after his death, OMON officer Sergei Udachin was shot and killed while recording what was happening on his own personal VHS camcorder that he was using to document their operations in Chechnya. Later, one of the rebel fighters would pick up the camcorder and use it to document their side of the ambush including to record the killed and captured Russian troops at the conclusion of the ambush. In total, 43 Russian Soldiers were killed in the Zhani-Vedeno Ambush.

The following footage shows scenes of graphic violence which may be unsuitable for some viewers. Scenes include the death of OMON officer Sergei Udachin as well as the raging sounds of a gun battle between Russian Interior Ministry troops, and members of the Islamic International Brigade. The quality of the video is low due to it being cycled through several video players, and being recorded on a VHS tape back in early 2000. This is the highest quality version of the video that is currently available for public consumption at this time. Viewer discretion is advised.

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