Chechnya is ready to send a contingent of peacekeeping forces to Kosovo, as long as Yugoslavia or Western countries agree to finance it, Chechen representatives told the Kosovo Albanians at a recent meeting. According to Chechen Foreign Minister Movladi Udugov, “Chechnya intends to participate in the resolution of the Kosovo conflict by legal means, not by sending fighters there, as the U.S. State Department and the Russian GRU maintain.” (Kommersant-daily, June 30)
Yugoslav military sources report that during President Slobodan Milosevic’s recent visit to Moscow, the head of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, Vyacheslav Trubnikov, told him that the Chechens were getting ready to send 10,000 fighters to Kosovo, where they would join the Kosovo Liberation Army. Udugov denied these reports: “To the knowledge of the [Chechen] government, not a single mercenary has served, or will serve, in Kosovo,” he said. Udugov did not deny, however, that some Chechens could be in Kosovo–volunteers who went there without Djohar’s knowledge or consent. (Kommersant-daily, June 30) Udugov said preparations are underway for a meeting of Chechen government representatives with Ibrahim Rugova, leader of the Kosovo Albanians. He noted that Kosovo Albanian leaders have expressed interest in Chechnya’s proposals for settling the crisis in Kosovo. “But they prefer not to hurry, and are showing caution. That’s understandable: the Kosovo leaders are strongly influenced by the United States and always have to look over their shoulder at Washington before doing anything. We should prefer to resolve the Kosovo problem without the direct participation of the United States and Russia,” Udugov said. (Kommersant-daily, June 30)
CHECHNYA ASKS TO JOIN UN.