Russia: February 22, 2000


Some 20,000 Russian troops, and considerable artillery and bomber firepower, are systematically going after up to 5,000 rebels operating in two large gorges in southern Chechnya. While the rebels have some supplies stockpiled, and some getting in from Georgia, the Russians make it more and more difficult for the rebels to move, fight or get resupplied. The Russian troops operate cautiously, careful to minimize their own casualties. Most of the troops in the battle are well trained, volunteer infantry. Russia, through the 1990s, recruited more volunteers, who are paid more than conscripts and are held to a higher standard of training and discipline. Most of the bad behavior has been by the largely conscript Interior Ministry troops, who are now in charge of Grozny and other population centers. The Grozny populations had fallen from 300,000 a few years ago to less than 10,000. 


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