DATE=9/29/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) NUMBER=2-254464 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian warplanes have conducted another day of air strikes on breakaway Chechnya, even as Russian aid workers begin building camps for refugees fleeing the bombs. V-O-A Moscow Correspondent Peter Heinlein reports there are increasing signs that preparations are underway for a ground invasion. TEXT: Russian news agencies say warplanes resumed strikes around the Chechen capital, Grozny, on Wednesday after a one-day pause. A Chechen source says several civilians were killed in the attacks. A Russian spokesman says the targets were military and industrial installations, and the casualties were Chechen militants. In the center of Grozny, an estimated 12-thousand people attended a rally where they heard an appeal for calm. Renegade Chechen commander Salman Raduyev urged residents to stay home and prepare to defend the city, as they did successfully during the 1994-96 war against Russian rule. Mr. Raduyev's appeal came as emergency workers in neighboring Ingushetia began setting up tent cities to house as many as 100-thousand Chechens who have already fled. An official says he expects double that number if the bombings continue. /// OPT /// In another development, a planned meeting between Chechnya's president, Aslan Maskhadov, and the leader of another neighboring region, Dagestan, failed to take place. The meeting was to have been held in the Dagestani town of Khasavyurt, where accords were signed ending the earlier Chechen war. But Russian news reports said angry Khasavyurt residents blocked roads, preventing the two leaders from entering the town. /// END OPT /// Other reports, meanwhile, quote military sources as saying preparations are nearing completion for a ground invasion of Chechnya. Some of the best-trained federal troops units are said to be moving into position along the Chechen border. Russian officials previously said there would be no repeat of the disastrous 1994 invasion of Chechnya. But speaking to reporters Wednesday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin refused to rule out the use of ground forces. /// PUTIN ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// He says, "I have never said that a land operation would not take place. But we will not allow a repeat of what happened in 1994." He added, "We won't have any attacks that could result in heavy casualties on our side, but the task of destroying the militant groups must be accomplished". The previous Russian military incursion into Chechnya left an estimated 80-thousand people dead, most of them civilians, and triggered a powerful anti-war movement. It ended three years ago with the humiliating defeat of federal troops by Chechen rebels and effective independence for the region. But after a series of bomb blasts at apartment buildings killed nearly 300 people this month, public opinion has shifted solidly in favor of a renewed campaign aimed at reversing the result of the previous war. (Signed) NEB/PFH/JWH/KL 29-Sep-1999 12:47 PM EDT (29-Sep-1999 1647 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .
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