In December 1994, the Russian Army laid siege to the Chechen capital of Grozny. Aslan Doukaev, Director of RFE's North Caucasus Service, was in the city as the time and discussed his memories
of the warzone on "Witness," a program produced by the "BBC World Service."
Doukaev, who was working as a professor at the time of the invasion, described the scene in Grozny as "apocalyptic" -- with buildings on fire, dead bodies littering the streets, snipers on rooftops, and constant air and mortar strikes.
In one particularly harrowing scene, Doukaev recalls a Russian fighter pilot launching a missle that destroyed a square in the center of the city. As people rushed in to assess the damge, the pilot doubled back and fired another missile at the square, killing scores more.
Having lost numerous relatives, Doukaev finally fled Grozny in January of 1995. He returned after some months to "a city that was half-alive, burnt and destroyed."
Listen to the entire program here