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DATE=9/23/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) CQ NUMBER=2-254260 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: [RE-ISSUING RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L), 2-254249, TO REMOVE FIRST LINE OF 2ND GRAF OF TEXT] INTRO: Russian forces have bombed the airport at Chechnya's capital, Grozny, killing at least one person. V-O-A Moscow Correspondent Eve Conant reports this is the first Russian attack on the Chechen capital since the region's civil war ended in 1996. TEXT: News agencies report that Russian bombers attacked an arms depot and radar equipment at the Grozny airport. The reports say Russian intelligence had determined Islamic militants were using the equipment. An air force press spokesman said a plane on the airstrip was also destroyed. The Interfax news agency reports Russian jets also targeted an oil refinery, a fuel storage site, and power installations outside Grozny. Russian forces have been bombing what they describe as rebel bases inside Chechen territory. They consistently deny Chechen reports that federal air strikes have damaged villages and killed hundreds of civilians. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says air strikes will continue against the rebels, wherever they might be located. /// PUTIN ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER /// He says, "The bandits will be pursued wherever they are. If they are found at the airport, they will be pursued at the airport." Russian authorities accuse Chechnya of sheltering Islamic militants who have been staging attacks against villages in neighboring Dagestan in an attempt to establish an independent Islamic state. Officials also blame the militants for a series of deadly apartment explosions in Russia that killed nearly 300 people. The recent fighting in Dagestan and the latest air strikes are the heaviest military activity in the region since Russia's civil war with Chechnya ended in 1996. (SIGNED) NEB/EC/JWH/KL/BK 23-Sep-1999 12:45 PM LOC (23-Sep-1999 1645 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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