Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 25

Russian forces apparently occupied the important Chechen command center at Vedeno June 4 after three days of heavy fighting and losses on both sides, Itar-Tass said. On June 2, one of Dudayev’s personal aides reportedly was killed during a Russian bombing attack, Interfax said. Chechen forces denied that Moscow had taken the town–symbolically important because it was the site of the North Caucasians’ last stand against Russia in the nineteenth century–but there could be no independent confirmation of either claim: The Russian army has banned Russian reporters and independent television from the region. It has also ordered representatives of the international medical organization, Doctors Without Borders, to leave Chechnya. Both steps suggest that Moscow plans a bigger and bloodier push this week. The Russian commanders on the scene said they had allowed some 5,000 Chechens to flee the area of the fighting and were offering amnesty to all who would stop fighting. Elsewhere in Chechnya, the fighting was also intense, with both sides claiming small victories amid heavy losses. Meanwhile, Moscow’s handpicked Chechen leader demonstrated that he was less than totally controlled. Uman Avturkhanov told Moskovsky komsomolets June 2 that he had asked Yeltsin to end the bombing. Moreover, Avturkhanov said, any future peace talks should be “only between us Chechens.”

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