Thousands of Russian troops are headed for the southern Russian city of Budyonnovsk, reportsTIME's Yuri Zarakhovich. Security has been tightened as far away as Moscow, several hundred miles to the north. "The government is deathly afraid of this," Zarakhovich reports. "They fear that this is only the beginning of what could be a long and bloody series of guerrilla attacks. They've really put the Chechens' backs to the wall, and now they have nothing left to lose." At least 42 have been killed and dozens more wounded in two days of fighting. Some 200 Chechens are holding about 1,000 residents of the town hostage. Chechen General Jokhar Dudayev denies any connection to the rebels, who aredemanding that Russia halt all military operations in Chechnya. One group of gunmen, holed up in the city's hospital with 300 hostages, including pregnant women and small children, has threatened to shoot 10 captives for any Chechen killed by Russian soldiers.