AFP: Generals Hail Capture Of [abandoned] Chechen Stronghold
- Generals Hail Capture Of Chechen Stronghold
[K.I. Shatoy was abandoned by Chechen fighters 3 days ago,
Russian still excersised bombing&fighting with afew civials
still survided there before entering Shatoy. Again, a usual
"bravade" of murderers and maradeurs. ]
MOZDOK, Russia, Mar 1, 2000 -- (Agence France Presse) Russian
generals hailed the capture of the Chechen mountain village of Shatoi
and said it marked the end of organized resistance to the military's
bid to restore full control over the rebel region.
The Council of Europe's human rights commissioner returned to Moscow
on Tuesday from a tour of Chechnya pressing for a quick end to the
conflict, but praising Acting President Vladimir Putin for allowing his
visit to proceed.
In Mozdok, Russia's big military base just outside Chechnya, aircraft
scaled down the missions which have hit rebel positions hard during
the five-month-old campaign.
"The aviation (here) is no longer working - there's no place left for
us to bomb," said military spokesman Konstantin Makeyev. "If we bombed
we could hit our own guys."
Colonel-General Gennady Troshev, deputy commander of Russian forces
in Chechnya, said his troops had taken snow-covered Shatoi after a
battle which left the rebels in disarray.
"The rout of the bandits at Shatoi today is in effect the final
point in the military operation," Troshev told state RTR television.
"Today the rebel gangs as such, as organizations, as gangs, have been
routed. Now the bandits have been scattered."
Rebels beaten in Shatoi had fled south towards the border of
ex-Soviet Georgia or north, where they were "destroyed and scattered"
by the town of Urus-Martan and Komsomolskoye village.
Remaining groups, he said, were no more than a dozen strong.
The capture of Shatoi was certain to boost the morale of Russian
troops and do no harm to Putin's campaign in the March 26 presidential
election. He remains heavy favorite, largely on the basis of firm
stand against the rebels.
But the army could still face hit-and-run rebel attacks used to
advantage in the 1994-96 war which culminated in a Russian pullout.
State television showed footage of Russian troops, led by many of the
same commanders, capturing Shatoi in June 1995.
In Moscow, Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev was cautious after
reporting to Putin on Shatoi. "The military phase of the
counter-terrorist operation is drawing to a close," Sergeyev said after
talks with German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping.
COUNCIL OF EUROPE STILL SEEKS END TO WAR
The Council of Europe's Gil-Robles, a Spanish diplomat, told the
daily Izvestia his views on seeking a quick end to the Chechnya
conflict were unchanged after his visit.
"I saw many victims and much suffering and understood that the
problem has not gone away," he was quoted as saying. "The war itself
constitutes a violation of human rights and we will call on Russia to
bring an immediate halt to it."
But he praised "positive steps" undertaken by Putin, including his
trip and the appointment of a Russian official to oversee human rights
issues in Chechnya.
[K.I. - If he would know his job better he would know that the
post was actually duplicated because MIRONOV, who was a human
right commissioner in Russia, was rather critical
to the situation being a relict of the first years of Jelcin era;
so Putin put his person in charge and effectively sided Mironov. ]
Scharping, speaking to reporters after talks with Sergeyev said
the issue was one of the degree of force used.
[K.I. - He would better draw an obvious parallel between the
Holocaust and the present mass killing of Chechens and the
devastation of their land, something the Germans seemed to
not to support anymore. Now the German state actually supports
the Chechen holocaust by passively observing how its best
investment partner is committing mass war crimes. ]
"Nobody questions Russia's territorial integrity or its right to
combat terrorism," he said. "The question is just how best to do
this, it is a question of proportionality."
Released Russian correspondent Andrei Babitsky related how he had
heard the cries of fellow inmates being beaten at a detention center
in Chechnya and accused authorities of being linked to weeks of
captivity in the region.
Babitsky told NTV television after his release on Monday that the
"routine" beating he underwent was nothing compared to those
administered to others at the Chernokozovo
detention center in north Chechnya, center of allegations of
But he said his family had been subjected to a nightmare.
"I am fully convinced that authorities, including the Interior
Ministry which is supposedly trying to help me, are deeply involved in
this mess, in this nightmare for my family which I have lived through
over the past two months," he said.
((c) 2000 Agence France Presse)