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DATE=11/17/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA REFUGEES (S & L) NUMBER=2-256289 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=NAZRAN, INGUSHETIA INTERNET=YES CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata is due to arrive in Ingushetia on Thursday to witness the plight of nearly 210- thousand Chechen refugees. Her visit coincides with reports from human rights workers that Russian forces are shelling refugees as they flee along the main road into Ingushetia. Correspondent Eve Conant is in Nazran, Ingushetia. TEXT: U-N High Commissioner for Refugees Sadako Ogata says she wants to witness for herself the growing humanitarian crisis in Ingushetia. After meeting officials in Moscow, Ms. Ogata said she was hoping to find constructive and useful solutions for the thousands of refugees suffering from cold, hunger, and disease as they fight for shelter in the already impoverished republic. In Ingushetia, Ms. Ogata will visit refugee camps near the Chechen-Ingush border and will hold talks with the Ingush leadership. She also hopes to travel inside Chechnya itself. International human rights workers in Ingushetia say they are hearing a growing number of reports of Russian troops shelling refugees as they try to flee Chechnya. They say refugees are being killed as they drive in private cars along the main highway leading out of the breakaway republic. /// REST OPT FOR LONG VERSION /// Cassandra Cavanaugh, a researcher for the New York based Human Rights Watch, says her organization can not confirm a Russian claim that the road north out of the Chechen capital Grozny has been declared a safe corridor. /// CAVANAUGH ACT /// What we do know is that most of the refugees are not going in that direction, they're going to the west here to Ingushetia on to this only one existing border point that's open -- Kavkaz Odin at Slipsovsk. And there's no safe way to get there - people are shot at, shelled at, bombed on the roads as they're coming out. There are single cars, convoys of several cars, civilian vehicles. /// END ACT /// Russian president Boris Yeltsin is expected to face heavy international criticism at the summit of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in Istanbul on Thursday. Russia insists that its military campaign is an anti-terrorist operation and Russian military leaders have consistently denied reports of civilian causalities. The testimonies from refugees and aid workers contradict those reports, and will likely serve to strengthen criticism of Russia's offensive as the O-S-C-E. summit begins. (Signed) NEB/EC/TVM-T/gm 17-Nov-1999 16:48 PM EDT (17-Nov-1999 2148 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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