TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L)
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
/// TROSHEV ACT IN RUSSIAN, THEN FADE
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
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
The renewed attacks came as Moscow dismissed appeals
from Grozny for western help to end the Russian
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
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
08-Nov-1999 09:08 AM EDT (08-Nov-1999 1408 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list