The Russian military continued to press its bloody campaign in Chechnya. By week’s end, federal forces had intensified their bombing attacks on the Chechen capital, Djohar, while gaining ground around both the republic’s second largest city, Gudermes, and Bamut, a key rebel base in Western Chechnya. The intensified fighting added to the already desperate situation for thousands of Chechen refugees in the region. Conditions are reportedly dismal for the estimated 200,000 people who have fled Chechnya, most of them into neighboring Ingushetia.
On the Chechen side of the border the situation is even worse. Despite repeated promises to the international community, Russian troops kept tens of thousands of refugees trapped at the border between Chechnya and Ingushetia. Only at week’s end did the Russian forces begin to let refugees escape the inferno into which Chechnya has been plunged.