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Russia: Defense Minister Says Bombing Of Chechnya To Continue

Moscow, 27 September 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev said today that Russian forces will continue bombing in Chechnya "until the last bandit is eliminated." Russian forces this morning bombed industrial targets, including oil facilities, in the Oktyabrskaya and Staropromyslovsky districts of the Chechen capital, Grozny. There are no casualty reports yet. It is the fifth day in a row Russia has bombed targets inside Chechnya. Yesterday, Sergeyev said plans to deploy ground troops in Chechnya have already been prepared, should they be needed. However, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the country will not repeat the 1994-1996 Chechen war. Putin said his country would not thoughtlessly put its troops under fire. Moscow says the strikes against Chechnya are aimed at disrupting supply and communication lines to rebels fighting Russian forces in Dagestan. Moscow blames those rebels for a series of terrorist bombings in Russian cities this month which have left nearly 300 civilians dead.