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Thursday, 23 December, 1999, 15:52 GMT
In pictures: Fighters in the Chechen war

In sharp contrast to Russia's first war in Chechnya between 1994 and 1996, Moscow appears to be pursuing its current campaign against the rebels on its own, so far successful, terms. But despite assertions by Russian military officials that the war is all but over, the rebels remain defiant and have been claiming some considerable victories.




Russian soldiers return from the front-line on the outskirts of Grozny atop an APC. Russia has repeatedly said that it will not try to take the city with an all-out ground assault.




Chechen rebels resting from battle. They are believed to be highly organised and well armed - their weapons stolen from dead or captured Russian soldiers.




For most Russian soldiers the current campaign has been war at a distance. In an attempt to avoid the massive casualties of its last war in the region, Moscow has tried to shell Chechnya into submission.




Russian soldiers load artillery shells with the names of the Chechen commanders they are targetting scrawled on the barrels.




It is widely believed that this Chechen war will not truly be engaged until Russia tries to take Grozny with ground troops. Any major assault is expected to lead to large numbers of casualties on both sides.

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See also:
23 Dec 99 |  Europe
Pro-Moscow militia 'enters' Grozny
15 Dec 99 |  Europe
Russians ambushed in Grozny
10 Dec 99 |  Europe
Analysis: Danger ahead for Russia's military
24 Oct 99 |  Europe
The first bloody battle for Grozny

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