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Chechnya: Wounded Civilians Trapped In Grozny, Says Red Cross


Moscow/Grozny, August 8 (RFE/RL) -- Hundreds of wounded civilians have been left unattended in three days of fighting in the Chechen capital of Grozny, says the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). A statement issued by the ICRC today expressed grave concern for civilians in Grozny. The ICRC said medical supplies are inadequate at two hospitals in the city, where Russian troops have launched a counter-offensive against Chechen separatist fighters.

Up to 100 civilians, including 10 wounded, had taken refuge with the Red Cross delegates at their office in the city. But, because of the fighting, the ICRC says there are no guarantees of security to evacuate civilians and wounded.

Fierce fighting, involving artillery, helicopter gunships and warplanes, has continued in the city since hundreds of rebels attacked on Tuesday. Movladi Udugov, Chechen separatist information minister, told RFE/RL that Chechen fighters now control most of Grozny. But Russian officials say troops have started "clean-up" operations. Both sides are reported to have sent in reinforcements.

Interfax quoted the Chechen separatist command saying separatists today shot down a Russian fighter aircraft after it shelled Chechen positions in the south of Grozny. There was no confirmation.

Fighting was also reported to be continuing today in Argun, Chechnya's second largest town.

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