Moscow vows to seize control of Chechnya

Click to follow
The Independent Online

IN THE strongest sign yet that Russia intends to recover the whole of Chechnya, the Defence Minister, Igor Sergeyev, said yesterday that Moscow would not stop its war machine until the rebellious region was fully under control.

IN THE strongest sign yet that Russia intends to recover the whole of Chechnya, the Defence Minister, Igor Sergeyev, said yesterday that Moscow would not stop its war machine until the rebellious region was fully under control.

"The troops will not stop," he declared. "They will fulfil the task of liquidating armed groups and terrorist bands on the territory of Chechnya. The troops will improve their positions, so as to control the entire situation."

He did not spell out exactly how Russia meant to gain the upper hand. But his words carried the strong implication that federal forces were planning to advance from their dugouts on the northern lowlands and to cross the Terek river. Beyond the river lie the Chechen capital, Grozny, and the Caucasus mountains, where the Islamic rebels are in their element.

Such action would increase the risks for Russia of being sucked into another conflict like the 1994-96 war with Chechnya, although Moscow has insisted that its aim is only to wipe out the fighters it blames for terrorist attacks. The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has said that ultimately politicians, not generals, must decide the future status of the region.

Comments