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Russian Court Bans Four AP Videos From Chechen Conflicts

A bus drives past as smoke rises from a building that had been repeatedly hit by tank shells in the southwest of Grozny in January 1995.

A court in the Russian North Caucasus city of Nalchik has banned four archive videos by the AP news agency from the wars in Chechnya in the 1990s and 2000s for allegedly "propagandizing cruelty."

One of the videos banned by the Nalchik court on December 27 shows Russian soldiers who were being held prisoner by Chechen fighters in 1995. In the video, which has been viewed nearly 2 million times, a Russian officer says he has been treated "very surprisingly" and criticizes Russian tactics in the war.

Another video, also from 1995, shows the results of Russian attacks on the Chechen cities of Grozny, Argun, and Shali.

The court’s decision stated that the videos "facilitate the undertaking of illegal activities," could provoke "negative social, economic, and other consequences," and violate "the right of citizens to live in a law-based state as guaranteed by the constitution."

Russia fought two wars against separatists in Chechnya. The first began in December 1994 and lasted until August 1996. It ended with a peace agreement that left the republic a considerable degree of autonomy.

The second Chechen war began in August 1999 and formally came to an end when Russia declared the end of the "counterterrorism operation" in the republic in April 2009.

The conflicts produced tens of thousands of civilian casualties and hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

Both campaigns have been criticized by domestic and international human rights activists for rights violations and atrocities on both sides.

With reporting by Meduza