Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education



Front Page

World

UK

UK Politics

Business

Sci/Tech

Health

Education

Sport

Entertainment

Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Archive
Feedback
Low Graphics
Help

Monday, November 1, 1999 Published at 16:29 GMT


World: Europe

Battle for Chechnya 'intensifies'

Russian soldiers make their way to positions in the Naurski region

Russian warplanes are reported to have attacked the Chechen capital Grozny as federal troops say they have also sealed off the breakaway region's second-largest city.

Battle for the Caucasus
The Interfax news agency reported that Russian planes had intensified the bombing campaign against the capital.

Russian military officials also said federal troops had sealed off the second city of Gudermes, 30km (20 miles) east of the capital,

Chechen officials said the siege of the city, was not complete and that fighting was still going on.

But a Russian military spokesman told the ITAR-Tass news agency: "We actually control, including from the air, all highways. All strategic heights on ridges around Gudermes have been occupied,"

'Propaganda of terrorists'

Interfax quoted Russian military commanders as saying they will take Grozny but have no immediate plans to storm the capital.


The BBC's Flora Botsford: "They meet little resistance"
Reports of the bombing campaign against Grozny and other villages came as the Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin dismissed Chechen claims of civilian casualties in Russian airstrikes as false propaganda.

"Everything that concerns the bombing of peaceful residents is the ill-intended propaganda of terrorists," he said on Sunday in an interview on a Moscow radio station.

In the latest report of civilian casualties, medical workers and Chechen officials said at least two villages were bombed, leaving dozens dead or wounded.

Reports of civilian casualties

The Associated Press quoted the head of a local hospital as saying 15 people were killed and 51 wounded when jets early on Sunday bombed Kurchaloi, 45km (28 miles) east of Grozny.

A Chechen official also told the news agency that seven people died on Saturday when warplanes bombed Chiskhi, 30 km (18 miles) south of Grozny.

The International Red Cross said two of its local workers had been killed and one badly wounded when a refugee convoy came under fire outside Grozny.

Several other vehicles also came under fire, killing at least 25 people and injuring 70 more, the aid agency said.

US concern

Russian officials rejected reports that they attacked the convoy.


The BBC's Richard Lister: "Mrs Albright made crystal clear her concern"
About 200,000 Chechen refugees have fled to neighbouring republics in the face of the Russian onslaught, prompting the US to express concern about the plight of civilians.

At talks in Washington, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told the Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushaylo, that she could not see how the two sides could reach a negotiated political solution to the conflict based on Moscow's current strategy.

Her spokesman said that, during the hour-long meeting, she made crystal clear her concern about the direction the Russian military campaign was taking.

The US says it recognises Moscow's right to combat internal security threats but has repeatedly criticised the humanitarian impact of the current operation.

Officials have also expressed concern about reports of widespread Russian intimidation of Chechens and other groups throughout the Caucuses region.

Mr Rushaylo, for his part, gave the US Secretary of State what he said was hard evidence of Chechen terrorism.

'Terrorists targeted'

Moscow says its military campaign is aimed at Islamic guerrilla groups based in Chechnya who have launched raids on neighbouring Dagestan and whom Moscow blames for bomb blasts in the rest of Russia which killed nearly 300 people.

But Chechen doctors working for the international humanitarian organisation, Medicines du Monde, say that is not true.

A Moscow-based spokesman for the organisation said: "There are a lot of civilian victims. They are bombing hospitals, schools, markets, houses."

BBC Moscow correspondent Andrew Harding says there is now overwhelming evidence that Russia's massive air bombardment is causing heavy civilian casualties.



Advanced options | Search tips




Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage | ©




Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia



Relevant Stories

30 Oct 99 | Europe
US urges restraint in Chechnya

31 Oct 99 | UK
Journalist held in Chechnya released

29 Oct 99 | Europe
Analysis: Putin's war

28 Oct 99 | Europe
Russia steps up bombing

27 Oct 99 | Europe
Chechens defy Russian assault

24 Oct 99 | Europe
Civilian casualties mount in Chechnya





Internet Links


Chechen Republic

Russian Government (in Russian)


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.




In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift