TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L)
INTRO: President Boris Yeltsin has vowed to defend
Russia's military offensive in Chechnya against a
chorus of international criticism at this week's
European security summit in Turkey. Correspondent
Peter Heinlein in Moscow reports Mr. Yeltsin will lead
a large Russian delegation to the meeting.
TEXT: President Yeltsin lashed out at Western
criticism of the war in Chechnya. He told Kremlin
reporters there would be no halt to the punishing
military campaign as long as, in his words - a single
terrorist remains on our territory.
Mr. Yeltsin said he would personally lead Russia's
delegation to the O-S-C-E summit beginning Thursday in
Istanbul. He will be accompanied by Prime Minister
Vladimir Putin, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev, and
several other senior officials, including the chief of
the humanitarian effort attempting to help those
fleeing the war zone.
Meanwhile, international criticism of the conflict
continues to mount.
/// OPT /// French President Jacques Chirac is quoted
as describing the Chechen campaign as a -- tragic
error. U-N Secretary General Kofi Annan told Prime
Minister Putin the scale of the Russian offensive
seems to have gone far beyond the stated objective of
flushing out -- terrorists. /// END OPT ///
But in comments Sunday and Monday, Mr. Yeltsin gave
his prime minister a solid vote of confidence. In
broadcast remarks, the Russian leader ridiculed
published reports he was about to fire Mr. Putin, and
said he still favors the former spy agency chief as
/// YELTSIN ACT -- IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
He says - I suggested Mr. Putin run for the
presidency. There is no question of him being fired.
With the O-S-C-E summit just a few days away, Russian
media, the main source of information about the war,
appear to have sharply curtailed their coverage.
Unconfirmed reports indicate the Chechen capital,
Grozny, is being heavily bombarded, possibly in
preparation for a ground assault.
/// OPT /// But the generals who have trumpeted the
success of Russia's long-range strikes have
disappeared from television screens. Instead, Army
Chief of Staff Anatoly Kvashnin was shown Monday
lashing out at foreign critics of the war.
/// OPT KVASHNIN ACT -IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
He says -- it is Russian territory. Do they think we
are a group of foreign states? We are one single
indivisible Russia. /// END OPT ///
While news of events inside Chechnya is scarce, the
flow of refugees from the war zone is growing. The
number of Chechens fleeing to neighboring regions has
E-U Foreign Affairs Representative Javier Solana was
quoted (Monday) as saying the European Union is urging
Russia to open Chechnya's borders to allow
international humanitarian organizations access to
refugees. In an interview published in a German
newspaper, Mr. Solana said -- we are trying to
persuade (Russia) to scale down operations and work
toward a political solution because the conflict
cannot be resolved militarily. (SIGNED)
15-Nov-1999 10:21 AM EDT (15-Nov-1999 1521 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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