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Chechnya: Russian Military Announces Special Operation

Moscow, 23 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev says Russia has begun what he called a "special operation" to wipe out Chechen resistance in southern Chechnya. But Sergeyev and other officials quoted by ITAR-TASS gave no details of the operation. Chechen commanders claim their fighters today and yesterday raided Russian units near Saadi-Khutor, Goyskoye, Alkhazurovo, and Urus-Martan in southwestern Chechnya. Independent confirmation was not available.

In Nazran, the government of Russia's neighboring republic of Ingushetia said that increasing numbers of Chechens fleeing the fighting have overwhelmed Ingushetia's ability to provide food and other services for them.