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DATE=8/10/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA POL - CAUCASUS (L UPDATE) NUMBER=2-252654 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 Chechnya. 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 insurgents. /// PUTIN ACT ONE - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// 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 days. Mr. Putin referred to the rebels as common criminals, and said they must be wiped out. /// PUTIN ACT TWO - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// 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 tolerated. 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 UNDER /// 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) NEB/PFH/JWH/RAE 10-Aug-1999 13:23 PM EDT (10-Aug-1999 1723 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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