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 Words in the News
  The Russian military responded to criticisms from the international community after it gave the people of Chechnya an ultimatum to leave Grozny. The BBC Moscow correspondent Paul Anderson reported.
  Audio Listen to the report in full
Russian helicopters

9 December 1999

Russian military responds to international criticism

  Audio Listen to the first part of the report
   General Kazantsev said the interpretation of the leaflets air-dropped on Grozny on Monday, telling civilians to leave or face destruction, was all wrong. He said it was a warning not an ultimatum aimed only at what he called the bandits dug in in the capital waiting for the advance of Russian forces. The Russians believe about six thousand rebel fighters remain in Grozny. The statement is a response, albeit a confusing one, to the international outrage at the threat to innocent civilians. Between fifteen and forty thousand are trapped in the capital, too sick, old or poor to leave. By Paul Anderson, the BBC’S correspondent in Moscow

air-dropped: dropped from the air, from planes or helicopters

warning: something that tells people of a possible danger

ultimatum: a warning that unless someone acts in a particular way, you will take action against them

bandits: armed robbers

dug in: suggests that they were unwilling to leave

: move forward

here, a person who fights against their country's army in order to change the political system

albeit: although. Albeit is often used to introduce a fact or comment which contrasts in some way with what you have just said

outrage: extreme anger

NEWS 2   Audio Listen to the second part of the report
   The Russians have also announced they will keep open the safe corridor out of Chechnya just outside Grozny, beyond Saturday, and that refugees can expect to be fed and be given medical treatment and put up in tent cities the Russians are building in the areas they’ve cleared. But many civilians hiding in cellars won’t know of any of this. There’s no communication and no television in Grozny and the intensive Russian bombing, which drove them underground in the first place, continues unabated.

safe corridor: here, an escape route to take people to safety

refugees: people who are forced to leave their country because there is a war there or because of their political or religious beliefs

: forced

: without losing force: there is no sign of an end to bombing, and no sign that it is decreasing

   Read about the background in BBC News Online

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