TITLE=RUSSIA POL - CAUCASUS (L UPDATE)
INTRO: Acting Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin
has pledged to quickly crush a Muslim insurgency in
the southern republic of Dagestan. Correspondent
Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports the newly appointed
prime minister has been thrust into the center of
Russia's worst security crisis since the war in
TEXT: In his first full day on the job, acting Prime
Minister Putin held a Kremlin strategy session with
President Boris Yeltsin on how to quell the Islamic
uprising spreading through the northern Caucasus,
around breakaway Chechnya.
Afterward, the tough-talking former K-G-B spy boldly
predicted government troops would promptly defeat the
/// PUTIN ACT ONE - IN RUSSIAN - FADE
He says -- a series of measures on restoring order was
presented to the president and approved. The measures
are already being put into practice and will continue
until order is restored, possibly within a couple
Mr. Putin referred to the rebels as common criminals,
and said they must be wiped out.
/// PUTIN ACT TWO - IN RUSSIAN - FADE
He says -- today in the Caucasus, and especially in
Dagestan, we have a massive rise of terrorism and
lawlessness. He says such a situation must not be
Meanwhile, heavy fighting was reported for a fourth
day around several rebel-held villages in a remote
mountainous area of Dagestan along the Chechen border.
Two Russian helicopters were said to have been shot
down and their crew-members killed.
News agencies say Russian troops drove the insurgents
out of two villages (Tuesday), but the rebels had
captured another one, and were well entrenched.
In another development, a council of Islamic leaders
in the region was reported to have met and declared
Dagestan's independence. The declaration called for
Muslims from Dagestan and Chechnya to fight until all
infidels are ousted from Muslim territory.
Russian officials say the rebels are being armed and
trained in Chechnya. But in a televised statement,
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov denied Chechens are
among the rebels. He said strict measures are being
put in place to prevent any border crossings.
/// MASKHADOV ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE
He says -- I have instructed authorities to strengthen
border controls. Mr. Maskhadov, a former Soviet army
colonel who led Chechnya's successful uprising against
Russian rule in the mid-1990's, described the events
of the past few days in Dagestan as a big dirty game
being orchestrated in Moscow. He added -- we will not
let anyone drag us into that game.
But with fighting in the northern Caucasus apparently
escalating, there are growing concerns about the
possibility of terrorist attacks in other parts of
Russia, as there were during the Chechen war. Moscow
police announced security is being tightened around
public facilities. Police in other regions were said
to be taking similar measures. (SIGNED)
10-Aug-1999 13:23 PM EDT (10-Aug-1999 1723 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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