Russia: February 3, 2000


The Chechen rebels have been very skilled in using the media to promote their interests. An example of this was demonstrated when the rebels exchanged three captured Russian soldiers for a Radio Liberty (a US funded organization) reporter (Russian Andrei Babitsky.) The reporter agreed to the swap and agreed to go back to Moscow until the investigation of his relationship with the rebels was completed. Babitsky, lacking Russian permission to operate in Chechnya, had been with a rebel unit, where he reported on the situation from the rebel side. In Gozny, Russian soldiers moved about freely, there being few rebels still active in the city. The rebels announced that 2,970 rebels had withdrawn from the city so far. But the Russians announced that hundreds of rebels had been killed by gunfire and artillery as they attempted to break out of the city. 


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