From remarks by Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) at a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday:
The bloodshed in and around Chechnya is appalling. The shelling of civilians and the tens of thousands of refugees who have fled Chechnya threaten to make this current military campaign as devastating as the Russian onslaught between 1994 and 1996. Over 100,000 Chechnyans were killed during that period, and I can only hope that we'll not see history repeat itself. . . .
This military campaign raises a number of troubling questions about Russia's future. The apparent freedom with which the Russian military has set about occupying the northern one-third of Chechnya, bombing its capital city, Grozny, and poising itself to lay siege to that city, prompts the question: Is Russia's civilian leadership really in control? If President Yeltsin and Prime Minister Putin are not in control of this military operation, then the United States should be alarmed about what this means for our stability and our security. And if they are in control, then the United States should hold them responsible. . . .
When Russia masses tanks, armored personnel carriers, and artillery in Chechnya, neighboring states certainly take note. The visibility of the independence and democratization of nations like Georgia are indeed at stake if Russia's leaders and military have ambitions throughout the Caucasus similar to those exhibited in Chechnya.
For the Record