RUSSIA: RUSSIAN TROOPS MOVE CLOSER TO GROZNY BUT CHECHEN FIGHTERS ARE NOT PREPARED TO LEAVE THE CITY
- Title: RUSSIA: RUSSIAN TROOPS MOVE CLOSER TO GROZNY BUT CHECHEN FIGHTERS ARE NOT PREPARED TO LEAVE THE CITY
- Date: 7th March 1996
- Summary: GROZNY AND ENVIRONS, CHECHNYA AND MOSCOW, RUSSIA (MARCH 7, 1996) (RTV/ RTR - PART NO ACCESS RUSSIA) (PART AUDIO QUALITY AS INCOMING) GROZNY AND ENVIRONS (RTV - ACCESS ALL) 1. LV RUSSIAN ARMOURED COLUMN MOVING (3 SHOTS) 0.17 2. LV RUSSIAN INFANTRY COLUMN MOVING INTO GROZNY 0.23 3. GV RUSSIAN CHECKPOINT 0.27 4. SV DAMAGED CAR (2 SHOTS) 0.33 5. SV PEOPLE HAVING PASSES CHECKED 0.39 6. SV/LV GROZNY RESIDENTS LEAVING (3 SHOTS) 0.55 7. SV WOMAN WEEPING 1.01 8. LV CHECHEN FIGHTERS IN STREETS 1.04 9. SV CHECHEN FIGHTER SPEAKING SAYING THEY ARE IN FULL CONTROL AND NOT PREPARED TO LEAVE THE CITY (RUSSIAN) (2 SHOTS) 1.22 10.LV/SV CHECHEN FIGHTERS IN STREETS (4 SHOTS) 1.45 MOSCOW (RTR - NO ACCESS RUSSIA) 11.LV YELTSIN TAKES CHAIR AT SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING 1.51 12.SV MINISTERS AT MEETING (2 SHOTS) 1.58 13.SV YELTSIN LEAVING MEETING 2.04 14.SV YELTSIN SPEAKING (RUSSIAN) / PHOTOGRAPHER (2 SHOTS) 2.44 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Reuters ID: LVA3B1WGGXWWBGEJ9IE7N82YGFUH
- Location: GROZNY AND ENVIRONS, CHECHNYA AND MOSCOW, RUSSIA
- Country: Russia
- Duration: 00:02:46
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None
- Story Text: Russian troops fought hand-to-hand with Chechen separatist guerrillas in the centre of Grozny on Thursday (March 7) after army units took up defensive positions around regional government headquarters.
Itar-Tass news agency said armoured vehicles moved into the city centre at 3 p.m. (1200 GMT) to help beleagured interior ministry and pro-Moscow police hold off the rebels' offensive.
Interfax news agency said the situation had deteriorated seriously. Clashes were going on effectively in every district of the Chechen capital.
Tass quoted the Russian-installed military commandant of Chechnya as saying 70 Russian and pro-Russian Chechen servicemen had been killed since the onset of the offensive on Wednesday.
The report of hand-to-hand fighting in the very centre of Grozny came only a few hours after President Boris Yeltsin said he was trying to put together a peace plan for Chechnya.
A solemn Yeltsin, emerging from a tough session of his policy-making Security Council, said he and his inner circle of ministers had approved a blueprint to end the 15-month conflict.
Yeltsin once again appeared to be out of touch with reality on the ground. He told reporters Russian troops had driven Dudayev's rebels out of Grozny.
"The city has been cleared today, though we have suffered losses," Yeltsin was quoted by Itar-Tass news agency as saying. His statement was almost immediately contradicted by reports of heavy fighting throughout the city.
In Chechnya later on Thursday, Russian soldiers stopped Reuters correspondents and their colleagues at a checkpoint 15 km (10 miles) from Grozny centre in the suburb of Staropromyslovsky, saying fierce fighting was going on 4-5 km (2-3 miles) further down the road.
Heavy explosions could be heard coming from Grozny. The Russian soldiers themselves, manning a concrete-enforced army post, were jumpy and appeared to have had little sleep.
Only about 200 metres (yards) from the checkpoint there was a group of guerrillas in woollen masks, with Islamic green headbands and carrying Kalashnikov weapons and grenade launchers.
They were chatting to local children and said they were in control of the area.
Others living near the city, already once devastated when Russian forces took it in February 1995, spoke of the crash of artillery, mortars and heavy machine-gun fire throughout the day.
Separatist guerrillas had encircled several interior ministry checkpoints, Interfax news agency said. Moscow says there are between 600 and 700 fighters in town.
Interfax's source said the situation had dramatically worsened with interior ministry units running out of ammunition.
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- Embargoed:22nd March 1996 12:00