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The BBC's Ben Brown in Chechnya
"For Moscow, Russian casualties are rmounting alarmingly fast"
 real 28k

Bridget Kendall in the refugee camps of Ingushetia
"Winter cold means almost everyone is ill now"
 real 28k

Tuesday, 25 January, 2000, 16:15 GMT
Thousands flee Russian offensive

Refugees on the Ingush border face diseases such as TB

There has been a sharp upsurge in the number of refugees fleeing Chechnya to escape the fighting.

Battle for the Caucasus
United Nations officials say nearly 10,000 people have crossed into Ingushetia in the past four days, the biggest exodus for some time.

A BBC correspondent in Ingushetia says refugees from Grozny have brought with them tales of horror. Some describe watching friends and relatives die beside them whilst trapped in cellars under constant Russian bombardment.

The UN says those who reach Ingushetia face the threat of disease, especially tuberculosis.

Russian artillery pounds rebels in the south

New refugees are those able to flee the fighting

The Chechen commander in Grozny, Aslanbek Izmailov, said small bands of rebels had stopped trying to hold territory and were launching hit and run attacks on the Russians, striking from the rear.

The Russian military claims to have most of Grozny under control, but troops which have taken streets by daylight have been forced to abandon them at night for fear of rebel ambushes.

Chechen sources say they have killed 150 Russians in the capital over the past two days, while Russia says it has killed more than 100 rebels since Monday.

The Chechens admitted 15 casualties, while the Russians said they had lost only six men.

Southern offensive

Russian aircraft are continuing to bomb strategic gorges in rebel-held areas to the south.

Russian soldiers unload rockets for use on the rebels

The Russians have been trying to dislodge rebels from woods in the lower Argun and Vedeno gorges for two weeks.

Interfax reported that Russian bombers, attack aircraft and helicopter gunships had flown more than 250 combat missions in Chechnya, despite poor weather conditions, on Monday.

North Caucasus command claimed 30 rebel strongholds had been destroyed.

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See also:
24 Jan 00 |  Europe
EU freezes financial aid to Russia
23 Jan 00 |  Europe
In pictures: Chechen campaign
23 Jan 00 |  Media reports
Russian TV accuses military of censorship
24 Jan 00 |  Europe
Chechens cling on to Grozny
21 Jan 00 |  Europe
Chechen refugees 'body searched'
18 Jan 00 |  Europe
Analysis: Russians learn from past mistakes

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