FEDERAL FORCES OCCUPIED SHATOI

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FEDERAL FORCES OCCUPIED SHATOI

RTR, Vesti, February 29, 2000, 20:00

The federal forces have taken the settlement of Shatoi, the last large settlement that used to be held by the separatists. The separatists left Shatoi last evening. They had no chances to defend the settlement. To all appearances, they departed in great haste, since they left a lot of weapons behind.

Nearly all the houses in the settlement are empty. Inhabitants of the settlement say that separatists robbed them of everything

Separatists who defended Shatoi are now moving in two directions. Some of them are heading to the Georgian border, and others are trying to break through to the lowlands. They have managed to reach Urus-Martan, where they were met by federal troops. Fighting began. According to radio intercepts, such Chechen leaders as Maskhadov, Basaev, Khattab, and Gilaev are in this detachment. General Gennady Troshev, Deputy Commander of the Federal Forces in Chechnya, has announced that those separatists who tried to break through to the lowlands were dispersed by federal troops, although some of them managed to get to the village of Komsomolskoe. During this operation five separatists were killed, one was wounded, and 19 people were taken prisoner. However, Troshev did not confirm the reports that Maskhadov, Basaev, Khattab, and Gilaev were among the separatists who tried to break through.

Defense Minister Igor Sergeev has made it clear in his report to Acting President Vladimir Putin that it is too early to talk about the end of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya. However, plans for further activities in Chechnya are being actively discussed now. Putin is preparing a decree on transferring administration of the counter-terrorist operation from the military to the Interior Ministry. But this does not mean that Russian troops will be withdrawn from the republic. According to the defense minister, the 42nd Motorized-Infantry Division will be stationed there. The list of places where detachments of this division will be stationed is being developed. There are the villages of Kalinovskaya, Khankala, Itumkala, and the town of Shali. The military will be charges with monitoring the highlands of Chechnya.

DENOUEMENT OF SCANDAL ABOUT BURIALS OF CHECHEN SEPARATISTS

RTR, Vesti, February 29, 2000, 20:00

The Pro-7 and N-24 TV channels, which aired a video allegedly proving that Russian soldiers were committing war crimes, have announced that their Moscow correspondent Frank Hefling has been dismissed for violation of journalistic ethics, for lies and deceit. It was stressed in the announcement that Hefling has seriously damaged not only the reputation of N-24 television, but also all Western media covering the events in Chechnya. The company’s management apologized to Oleg Blotsky, from whom Hefling bought the tape before he went to Chechnya and claimed to have shot it himself, adding comments at will.

Thus, now the report of “Izvestia” correspondent Blotsky about burials of Chechen separatists is considered to be the most reliable.

VALENTINA MATVIENKO MAY RUN FOR ST. PETERSBURG GOVERNOR

RTR, Vesti, February 29, 2000, 20:00

Deputy Prime Minister Valentina Matvienko has announced that she may run for governor of St. Petersburg. She has said that she has received a lot of proposals from various initiative groups, and she does not rule out the possibility of accepting one such proposal.

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