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Russia: Officials Deny Attacking Refugee Bus In Chechnya

Moscow, 8 October 1999 (RFE/RL) - Russia denied that it destroyed a bus carrying Chechen refugees after a news agency showed graphic video footage of dead bodies and wreckage. Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin refuted the report, saying it was disinformation. The country's defense minister and senior military commanders also denied the report. Reuters obtained the video film from a Chechen photographer who said he shot it on Monday near the northern Chechen town of Chervlyonnaya, where Russian forces were active. The photographer said the bus had been hit by a tank shell which killed 11 people aboard and left 17 wounded. Putin and Russian commanders have not ruled out more advances. Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov said his troops would fight if there were further advances. Maskhadov's appeals for peace talks with Russia have been ignored by Moscow.