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DATE=11/8/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) NUMBER=2-255933 BYLINE=PETER HEINLEIN DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russia is sending reinforcements to Chechnya, adding to the estimated 100-thousand troops stationed in and around the breakaway republic. Moscow correspondent Peter Heinlein reports Chechnya's president has appealed to western leaders for help in stopping the Russian military onslaught. TEXT: A Russian army spokesman says interior ministry reinforcements are being sent to northeastern Chechnya, where federal troops are encircling the region's second city, Gudermes, 35-kilometers east of the capital, Grozny. General Gennady Troshev told reporters scattered clashes are taking place as troops move in on Gudermes. The city has been the object of intense Russian air and artillery bombardment for more than a week. /// TROSHEV ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE TO... /// He says -- our plan is to turn over captured positions to the Interior Ministry troops so our special forces can advance and clear out neighborhoods that are still populated. A fresh series of air attacks was also reported on Grozny. Russia's state-run ITAR-Tass news service reported 30 air strikes on Grozny, Gudermes and the southwestern town of Bamut in the most recent 24-hour period. The renewed attacks came as Moscow dismissed appeals from Grozny for western help to end the Russian offensive. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov was reported to have called on member countries of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to assist in finding a political solution to the conflict. The O- S-C-E holds a summit in Turkey this month at which Chechnya is expected to be among the main topics of discussion. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin immediately rejected the appeal. In a television interview, the Prime Minister said the Chechen leader could write to whomever he wants, even the Pope. But, he added -- as long as Mr. Maskhadov supports terrorists, there is little chance anyone will agree to talk to him. /// BEGIN OPT /// Russia maintains its campaign is aimed at destroying terrorists, but Chechen officials say most of those killed have been civilians. Western journalists have been effectively barred from the war zone, and casualty figures are sketchy. President Maskhadov's office estimates more than four- thousand civilians have been killed since the air strikes began in September. Another 200-thousand have fled Chechnya, most of them sheltering in neighboring Ingushetia. Officials there are speaking of an impending humanitarian disaster unless international aid arrives soon. /// END OPT /// The fighting in Chechnya is the worst since Russia's ill-fated war against Chechen separatists in the mid- nineties. That campaign left an estimated 80-thousand dead, most of them civilians, and ended with the total withdrawal of Russian forces from the breakaway region. (SIGNED) NEB/PFH/GE/LTD/RAE 08-Nov-1999 09:08 AM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1408 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .

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