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Friday, 26 November, 1999, 15:50 GMT
Picture gallery: Chechnya at war

Russia says it is starting a new phase of its offensive in Chechnya that will destroy rebel bases in the breakaway republic's southern mountains.

Refugees say that Russian police and security forces are detaining increasing numbers of people at the border with Ingushetia.


Russian tank near Bamut



Russian troops have been bombarding the western city of Bamut near the border with Ingushetia.

Chechen refugees

Chechen refugees wait to cross into Ingushetia at check-point Kazkaz near Sleptsovskaya. According to the refugees, the Russian authorities are holding people for not having documents showing their cars are in good working condition.

Refugee camp

An elderly Chechen refugee sits near her tent. An estimated 200,000 refugees have fled the fighting since Russia launched its military campaign to flush out the rebels eight weeks ago.

Chechen refugees in van

A van with Chechen refugees passes Russian soldiers at check-point Kavkaz-1 near Sleptsovskaya, Ingushetia.

Young smoking soldier

Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov launched an appeal on Thursday to Russian soldiers to desert their units and come over to the Chechen side.

"You are gun-fodder and human slaves in a high-profit business called war," he said.

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