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Several Police Killed in Clashes with Gunmen in Chechen Capital

An unconfirmed video grab image of a vehicle burning in a street in Grozny, Chechnya.

Authorities in Russia say gunmen traveling in several cars killed at least three police officers at a checkpoint in the capital of Chechnya.

Russian officials said the incident occurred after midnight Thursday in Grozny.

They said the militants then stormed a building housing local media called the Press House, where the insurgents were surrounded.

In October, five policemen were killed in Grozny when they stopped a young suicide bomber from attacking a concert hall, shattering a period of relative calm in the restive North Caucasus region.

Grozny has been the epicenter of two bloody wars in the past two decades between Russian forces and Chechen rebels seeking independence from Moscow.

The latest incident in the region came just hours before a widely anticipated speech by President Putin before the Federation Council, the upper house of Russia’s parliament.

The last time Putin spoke before the chamber’s lawmakers was following Russian’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea.

Chechnya has been ruled since 2005 by Kremlin loyalist Ramzan Kadyrov.

Below are some of the early tweets and images circulated on events in Grozny in social media (Storify feed might not be visible for all users).

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