//re-running with correct number//
INTRO: A Russian helicopter gunship was downed in
Dagestan during continued fighting between Russian
forces and Islamic insurgents in the southern Russian
region. Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports the
president of neighboring Chechnya has declared a state
of emergency following what he says is the Russian
bombardment of Chechen villages.
TEXT: The Russian military has only confirmed that a
helicopter gunship crashed in Dagestan Saturday. But
witnesses say the helicopter was shot down by rebel
fighters. At least one crewmember was rescued but the
fate of two others who were able to parachute to the
ground remains unknown.
Hundreds of militants aiming to establish an Islamic
state have invaded Dagestan from neighboring Chechnya.
Russian troops have stepped up their campaign to rout
them from several villages under their control.
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov says Russian
aircraft bombed villages inside Chechnya, killing
civilians. He has declared a state of emergency in
Chechnya and has ordered a total mobilization of the
adult population. He also appealed to Chechens
fighting in Dagestan to return home, or risk, as he
put it, "bringing misfortune to the entire Chechen
// Rest For Long //
Russia's Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, said Saturday
there was no reason to declare a state of emergency
in Russia despite the continued fighting between
insurgents and Russian troops. But Chechen President
Maskhadov says talks are necessary between Russian and
Chechen officials in order to avoid a larger war in
the Caucasus region.
The fighting in Dagestan is the heaviest in the region
since Russia's civil war with Chechnya ended three
years ago. (signed)
11-Sep-1999 22:22 PM LOC (12-Sep-1999 0222 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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