TITLE=RUSSIA / CHECHNYA (L)
INTRO: Russian forces are pounding the Chechen city of
Urus-Martan with artillery rounds and rockets as part
of their campaign to encircle the Chechen capital,
Grozny. V-O-A Moscow Correspondent Eve Conant reports
civilians in Grozny are said to be hiding in
basements, afraid to leave the city, fearing they will
be targeted by Russian forces if they try to escape.
TEXT: Eyewitness reports say automatic-weapons fire
can be heard during breaks in bombing attacks as
Russian troops try to advance on Urus-Martan from the
The city, 20 kilometers south of Grozny, is believed
to be part of a supply route for Chechen fighters in
the mountainous south.
The commander of Russia's armed forces in the North
Caucasus, Viktor Kazantsev, says Russian forces are
not carrying out as many attacks as news media are
/// KAZANTSEV ACT - IN RUSSIAN - FADE UNDER ///
"Why is the [Russian] mass media frightening our
citizens?" he asks. "They say we carried out 100
sorties when we only carried out 21. And," he says,
"16 of them only hit terrorist bases in the
Information from Chechen military sources is not
available, and communication links to the Chechen
leadership have been cut off.
Meanwhile, residents in Grozny are struggling to
survive after weeks without electricity or heat.
Witnesses say many are hiding in freezing basements,
going outside only to collect firewood from destroyed
buildings. Civilians trapped in the city are quoted
as saying they are afraid to leave.
They say Russian warplanes and helicopter gunships
target vehicles driving toward the neighboring
republic of Ingushetia, where more than 230-thousand
refugees have fled. Refugees reaching the border say
the road out of Chechnya is littered with the burned-
out shells of civilian cars hit by Russian forces.
30-Nov-1999 11:09 AM EDT (30-Nov-1999 1609 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list