TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L)
INTRO: Russia's Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says
federal forces have captured one of Chechnya's largest
cities. Mr. Putin's announcement comes as
international leaders are calling on Moscow to scale
down the military campaign in the breakaway republic.
But V-O-A Moscow Correspondent Eve Conant reports that
Russian officials are showing no signs of reducing
their operations in Chechnya.
TEXT: Prime Minister Putin says the Russian flag has
been raised over Chechnya's second largest city,
Gudermes. Communication with Chechen military sources
has effectively been cut off, but the loss of Gudermes
would signal a significant defeat for Chechen forces.
/// PUTIN ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
The prime minister says Russian armed forces have
closed in on the two biggest cities in Chechnya,
Gudermes, and the capital Grozny. Mr. Putin says,
"The Russian flag has already been hoisted over
Gudermes and a temporary administration has been
Speaking to reporters after a meeting of Russia's top
military officials, Prime Minister Putin says the
government will take steps to make Russia's military,
in his words, "more powerful and effective."
At the meeting, Russia's defense minister, Igor
Sergeev, lashed out at the West, calling the military
policy of the United States and NATO a "challenge to
/// SERGEEV ACT ONE - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
He says, "The West wants to weaken Russia and force it
out of strategic positions such as the Caspian region,
the Caucasus, and Central Asia."
The defense minister said what he called the West's
aggressive and destabilizing military policy violates
international law. Mr. Sergeev added that the United
States would benefit from Russia's conflict in
/// SERGEEV ACT TWO - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
He says, "A smouldering, armed conflict in the
Caucasus is in the national interests of the United
Western leaders have become increasingly vocal about
their opposition to what Moscow calls its "anti-
terrorist" campaign in Chechnya, which has resulted in
civilian casualties and an exodus of nearly 200-
/// REST OPT ///
A Kremlin aide says Prime Minister Vladimir Putin will
attend a summit of the Organization for Security and
Cooperation in Europe next week in Turkey. The
Interfax News Agency quotes Kremlin sources as saying
President Boris Yeltsin will lead the Russian
delegation at the summit.
OSCE officials and other Western leaders are urging
Moscow to seek a political solution to the Chechen
conflict. But Russia rejects international criticism
and says force is necessary to wipe out Islamic
terrorists operating inside the breakaway republic.
12-Nov-1999 10:27 AM EDT (12-Nov-1999 1527 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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