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Chechnya: Prosecutor-General To Deal With Detained Journalist

Moscow/Grozny; 1 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian Presidential advisor Sergei Yastrzhembsky says acting Prosecutor-General Vladimir Ustinov will go to the North Caucasus today and could decide on the spot what to do with detained RFE/RL correspondent Andrei Babitsky. Ustinov has said Babitsky "violated rules of behavior for journalists active in the zone of the anti-terrorist operation." Babitsky, a Russian citizen, was detained as he was leaving Grozny earlier this month. Babitsky was transferred to the Chernokozovo detention center, Naursky district of Chechnya, on January 18. Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov says Russia's war in Chechnya is "winding down." He made the remark yesterday to U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who is meeting Russian officials in Moscow. Albright said that Russia's military campaign represents what she called "an incredible act of misery."

In fighting yesterday, the Russian army claimed it has driven Chechen fighters out of high-rise buildings at a strategic square in Grozny. They say Russian troops have not entered many buildings at Minutka Square because of mines left behind by the Chechens. Chechen separatist General Aslanbek Ismailov denied the Russian claims, saying Chechens still control all approaches to the square.