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The BBC's Rob Parson
narrates Chechen video footage of a bloody ambush
 real 28k

Friday, 3 March, 2000, 22:59 GMT
Chechen video shows war's brutality
Chech video footage
The video appears to show rebels killing the truck's occupants
Chechen rebel fighters have released a videotape to the BBC which they say shows an ambush on a Russian convoy.

Battle for the Caucasus
The footage, which cannot be independently verified, shows another brutal side of the war which Moscow has tried to conceal from the Russian public.

The film, shot by one of the rebels, shows the fighters moving between ruined buildings in the capital, Grozny, and then firing on a convoy which drives straight into their trap.

In one horrifying scene, the Chechens surround a truck and appear to shoot the occupants at point-blank range. One of the dead Russians is pulled from the lorry and bullets fired into his body.

rebel soldier
A Chechen rebel firing during the ambush
An armoured personnel carrier takes a direct hit, and terrified Russian conscript prisoners are led away. One is struck on the back of the head with a rifle butt.

If they are lucky, they may be exchanged for Chechen prisoners.

Our correspondent Robert Parsons, who is on the Chechen border with the Russian army, described the ambush as a short and vicious exchange, feeding off ancient hatreds which are renewed across Chechnya every day that the conflict lasts.

And he added that in Chechnya, neither side has a monopoly on war crimes. But amidst the brutality, there are the occasional flashes of humanity.


A rebel is seen hauling a body from the truck
One Russian officer released by the rebels told the BBC that his captivity had changed his view of the Chechens.

He said it was very tough being a prisoner, but the rebel fighters had treated him well. They gave him medical aid for his damaged arm and shared the same food.

But our correspondent says the war has deepened mutual hatreds and, even though the Russian army stands on the brink of victory, the soldiers know nothing has been solved.

He says the conflict is just waiting to erupt again.

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