CNN World News

Chechen war reaches one-year mark

building December 11, 1995
Web posted at: 10:00 p.m. EST (0300 GMT)

From Correspondent Steve Harrigan

GROZNY, Russia (CNN) -- It has been a year since Russia began its military suppression of secessionists in the breakaway republic of Chechnya. Some 25,000 deaths later, the 40,000 Russian troops that poured into the region now control two-thirds of Chechnya. A half-hearted truce has been in effect since July.

map Grozny, the capital, is a jungle. Russian forces patrol the city, where snipers and car bombs continue to claim lives. Tension between the two sides is high.

Still dazed, the people of Grozny pick through the ruins of their homes. Solitary figures wander where families once lived. Broken shells of buildings, disfigured by bombs and bullets, give the impression the city itself is wounded.

begging woman But there are other kinds of damage that may be even more difficult to repair -- damage to the spirit. Patience is in short supply, and people fear there might not be enough bread to go around.

"They say the war is over," said Khava, who has four children. "What war is over? Dead bodies every step you take, at night we are afraid, we don't leave our houses. I'm in pain for our city."


"They say the war is over. ... What war is over?"

-- Khava, mother of four

clean up Sporadic talks to negotiate the republic's future have been futile. Chechen rebels still vow to fight for independence. Moscow still vows not to let them. So the standoff extends into a second year.

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