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DATE=11/10/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L) NUMBER=2-256013 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Chechnya's leader has made an urgent plea for peace talks -- as Russian air and artillery forces continue to pound targets throughout the breakaway republic. Moscow Correspondent Eve Conant also reports a European security mission is in neighboring Ingushetia to assess the growing crisis of refugees from Chechnya. TEXT: Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov issued an appeal urging the world community to prevent what he called the -- elimination of Chechnya's people. But Russian forces show no intention of halting intensive bombing raids. Russian military sources say they unleashed a fresh wave of rocket attacks against rebel positions outside the capital, Grozny, as well as in Chechnya's southern regions. A delegation from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (O-S-C-E) is visiting neighboring Ingushetia to assess the condition of almost 200-thousand refugees. Many of them are living in makeshift refugee camps as freezing temperatures and snow set in. Russia says it can cope with the refugee influx. But aid organizations say the region is on the verge of a humanitarian catastrophe. Eyewitness news reports said the sound of shelling could be heard as the O-S- C-E team toured one refugee camp. There is little sign the tens-of-thousands of refugees will be able to return home soon. In a newspaper interview Wednesday, a leading Russian commander, Viktor Kazantsev, said refugee figures were exaggerated to embarrass Russia, and civilians are not suffering from the bombing raids. General Kazantsev said if he were allowed to use massive force he could -- flatten Chechnya with bombs -- within one week. Instead he said, what he called - - Moscow's anti-terrorist operation -- could take one to three-years to complete. (SIGNED) NEB/EC/JWH/RAE 10-Nov-1999 11:22 AM EDT (10-Nov-1999 1622 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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