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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

10/26/1999

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Troops Block Refugee Escape Route

Russian forces sealed off the last route of escape for Chechen refugees this weekend even as they continued to pound villages and cities in the republic and push further into Chechen territory. On Saturday, Russian troops took over the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia and announced they were temporarily sealing off roads to Ingushetia, even for refugees. Until now, the checkpoint was controlled by Ingush police. Ingush President Ruslan Aushev sent a telegram Sunday to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin appealing to him to re-open the roads for civilians fleeing bombing and heavy fighting. ""Those roads are the main corridor for refugees. Now these people, most of them women, old people and children, have no way to leave Chechnya,"" Interfax quoted Aushev as saying. ""War should be waged against bandits and terrorists, not against refugees."" Ingushetia, an impoverished republic of 340,000 and once a part of the Chechen-Ingush Soviet Autonomous Republic, has a 120-kilometer border with Chechnya.

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