Russia: October 14, 1999


Russian troops are moving in from the east and west towards the Chechen capitol of Grozny. The approach would leave the Chechen defenders on the Terek river cut off in Surrounded if the two Russian columns, each of approximately brigade (2-3,000 men) size. The eastern column has already surrounded Goragorsky, where they believe they have Chechen leader Shamil Basayev, but this is unlikely. Another Russian Su-25 ground attack aircraft was downed in Chechnya. Chechnya has again appealed for the UN to intervene in the war it is fighting with Russia. But so far, the UN has refused to get involved, as Chechnya is still technically part of Russia. But so was Kosovo part of Yugoslavia. But the Serbs did not have nuclear weapons.

October 14; Turkey has denied Russian claims that mercenaries are assembling on Turkish territory prior to deployment into Chechnya.--Stephen V Cole

October 13; Russian troops are advancing on the Chechen town of Goragorsky, but are encountering stiff resistance. A bomb was found in the basement of a Moscow apartment house. It was defused and removed.

October 12; Russia has sent diplomats to major Moslem countries to explain what it is doing in Chechnya and defuse any feelings that the Russians are simply trying to oppress Moslems. The Russians have been handling the media and diplomatic aspects of the conflict much better than they did during the 1993-96 war. As Russian troops approached Goragorsky, they were hit by a Chechen counterattack. Russian warplanes and artillery continued to hit Chechen towns and suspected troops concentrations behind the front line of fighting. The Russians repulsed this, but it stalled the Russian advance. Russia has accused Chechnya of preparing commando raids on nuclear facilities within Russia.

October 12; Russia opened the border with Abkhazia on 9 September, outraging Georgia. Technically, Abkhazia is a province of Georgia, but it rebelled in 1993. Local ethnic Abkhazian rebels forced thousands of Georgian immigrants, some of whom had been there since before WWII, to flee. In 1994, Russia brokered a peace deal under which it would post peacekeepers (technically a UN mission) on the ceasefire line (preventing further conflict). Georgia accepted this only because Russia agreed to concurrently block the northern border (between Abkhazia/Georgia and Russia) to prevent arms shipments. (This also had the effect of choking Abkhazian trade and strangling the Abkhazian economy. Russia was hardly an honest broker since it had tacitly backed the Abkhazians; the peace deal was a defacto partition of Georgia.) Russia opened the border because Georgia had stopped blocking the border between Georgia and Chechnya, allowing Islamic militants from all over the Middle East to reach the rebellious province.--Stephen V Cole


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