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DATE=7/19/99 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT NUMBER=2-251910 TITLE=CHECHNYA / BORDER CLASHES (L-ONLY) BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: ALREADY-TENSE RELATIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE BREAKAWAY REPUBLIC OF CHECHNYA ARE WORSENING WITH INCREASING REPORTS OF VIOLENT BORDER SKIRMISHES. V-O-A CORRESPONDENT EVE CONANT IN MOSCOW REPORTS THAT CHECHEN OFFICIALS ARE THREATENING TO CLOSE DOWN REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES IF RUSSIAN OFFICIALS DO NOT EXPLAIN WHY THEY ARRESTED A TOP CHECHEN OFFICIAL LAST WEEK. TEXT: CHECHEN GUNMEN FOUGHT WITH RUSSIAN SECURITY FORCES ALONG THE RUSSIAN-CHECHEN BORDER MONDAY, KILLING ONE RUSSIAN OFFICER AND WOUNDING FOUR OTHERS. RUSSIAN NEWS AGENCIES REPORT THAT SHORTLY AFTER THE ATTACK, TWO RUSSIAN HELICOPTER GUNSHIPS STRUCK AT CHECHEN POSITIONS IN RETALIATION. MONDAY'S SKIRMISH IS THE LATEST IN SERIES OF BORDER BATTLES DURING THE PAST FEW DAYS. THE LATEST ATTACKS FOLLOW THE SURPRISE ARREST OF CHECHNYA'S SECURITY MINISTER, TURPAL-ALI ATGERIYEV, WHO WAS SEIZED BY RUSSIAN POLICE AT A MOSCOW AIRPORT LAST FRIDAY. MR. ATGERIYEV WAS LATER RELEASED, BUT RUSSIAN OFFICIALS HAVE YET TO GIVE AN OFFICIAL EXPLANATION FOR THE DETENTION. /// OPT /// THE RUSSIAN MEDIA REPORTS THE CHECHEN SECURITY MINISTER WAS WANTED FOR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN A HOSTAGE-TAKING RAID DURING THE CHECHEN WAR. /// END OPT /// CHECHNYA'S CHIEF REPRESENTATIVE IN RUSSIA, MAIRBEK VACHAGAEV, SAYS CHECHNYA IS CLOSING ITS REPRESENTATIVE OFFICES IN RUSSIA TO PROTEST THE ARREST. /// ACT VACHAGAEV IN RUSSIAN IN FULL AND FADE UNDER /// HE SAYS, ALL LOCAL OFFICES WILL BE ORDERED TO CLOSE WITHIN 72 HOURS AND MAY EVEN SHUT DOWN WITHIN 24 HOURS. MR. VACHAGAEV SAYS THE MOSCOW OFFICE WILL ALSO BE CLOSED IN THE NEXT 24 HOURS UNLESS RUSSIA GIVES AN OFFICIAL EXPLANATION FOR THE ARREST AND GUARANTEES THE SECURITY OF CHECHEN OFFICIALS IN RUSSIA. ///REST IS OPT/// CHECHEN OFFICIALS DESCRIBE THE ARREST AS A PROVOCATION, AIMED AT PREVENTING A LONG-AWAITED MEETING BETWEEN CHECHEN PRESIDENT ASLAN MASKHADOV AND RUSSIAN PRESIDENT BORIS YELTSIN. (SIGNED) NEB/EC/GE 19-Jul-99 9:05 AM EDT (1305 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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