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Babitsky's Wife Speaks With Husband

(Washington, DC--25 February 2000) Andrei Babitsky, the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty correspondent who has been missing in Chechnya for 40 days, was in telephone contact with his wife today. She reports that he appears to be well but is still under detention in Makhachkala, the capital of Daghestan. Currently in Prague at the headquarters of RFE/RL, Lyudmila Babitskaya said that she planned to return to Moscow and hoped to meet her husband either there or in the capital of Daghestan, a republic which neighbors Chechnya.

RFE/RL President Thomas A. Dine said that he was elated by this news but awaited further information about Babitsky's circumstances--both physical and legal. Dine added that RFE/RL would do everything possible to ensure that Babitsky is released from detention and returned to his family immediately.

Babitsky, a prize-winning RFE/RL correspondent, was first detained by Russian authorities in Chechnya on January 16. On February 3, Russian officials released a film which purported to show him being handed over to Chechen units in exchange for Russian prisoners of war.

Throughout this period, Russian officials at all levels issued contradictory statements about Babitsky's whereabouts.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty is a private, international radio service to Eastern Europe and Southeastern Europe, Russia, the Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East funded by the US Congress. More than 20 million listeners rely on RFE/RL's daily news, analysis and current affairs programming to provide a coherent, objective account of events in their regio