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[WP] 10.31.99 Attack on Chechen Civilians Confirmed

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  • witold1
    Red Cross Says Convoy That Included Clearly Marked Vehicles Hit by Russians By David Hoffman Washington Post Foreign Service Sunday, October 31, 1999; Page A31
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 31, 1999
      Red Cross Says Convoy That Included Clearly Marked
      Vehicles Hit by Russians

      By David Hoffman
      Washington Post Foreign Service
      Sunday, October 31, 1999; Page A31

      MOSCOW, Oct. 30—The International Committee of the Red Cross
      confirmed today that Russian warplanes struck a convoy of civilians in
      Chechnya on Friday, killing 25 people and injuring 70.

      In a statement from Geneva, the agency said the convoy included vehicles
      From the Chechen branch of the Russian Red Cross, and that the five
      vehicles in the convoy were clearly marked with a Red Cross emblem. The
      Red Cross said the vehicles were returning from the Chechen-Ingush
      border, which had been closed by the Russians.

      The Red Cross statement is the first confirmation of an attack on
      which Russia has denied since the first reports on Friday. The Red
      citing confirmation from its local workers, said a rocket fired from a
      Russian warplane hit a truck, killing two Red Cross workers and
      injuring a third. Nearby vehicles also came under fire, the agency said.

      The attack has been shrouded by conflicting accounts. A Chechen
      Ramsan Abuyev, told the Reuters news agency that about 40 refugees
      died and 100 others were injured when their convoy came under fire near
      the village of Shami-Yurt, west of Grozny, the Chechen capital. He said
      vehicles were destroyed. Reuters also quoted a nurse who said she saw
      the attack.

      On Friday and again today, the Russian military denied attacking a
      convoy. The Russian air force press service said that warplanes were
      targeting trucks carrying Chechen fighters and weapons. The Russians
      the trucks were attacked on a highway west of Grozny because "assault
      rifles" were fired at an Su-25 fighter jet. The air force said two
      trucks were

      Both sides have been engaged in a fierce propaganda war that has made it
      difficult to ascertain the truth about the fighting in Chechnya. The
      Defense Ministry claimed today that Chechen gunmen are blowing up their
      own houses "to make it look like Russian airstrikes." The Russians also
      renewed their claim today that they are carrying out strikes only on
      militants" and "terrorists," but hospitals are overflowing with civilian
      casualties from the month-long military assault on separatist

      Fighting continued today around Grozny and Chechnya's second-largest
      City, Gudermes. Russian television reports said military forces were
      of Gudermes but did not yet plan to seize the city.

      Russian Su-24 and Su-25 jet fighters continued to pound Grozny, flying
      sorties in the past day, Russian military officials said. They claimed
      to have
      bombed an electronics plant, and there were reports of a large explosion
      from the bombing of the Grozny oil refinery.

      Russia appears to be laying siege to Gudermes and Grozny, unleashing an
      aerial bombardment and artillery fire and surrounding both cities, but
      yet taking them street by street. It was in such urban combat that the
      Russian army suffered heavy losses five years ago in the first Chechen
      Reports from Grozny said that most people have fled the city, and those
      who remain have gone into hiding in cellars at the sound of approaching

      Russia has in recent days sealed the border between Chechnya and
      Ingushetia, Chechnya's tiny western neighbor, and refugees fleeing the
      combat have been camping out there. A promise to open the border
      Friday was not honored.
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