Russian soldiers fighting in Bamut complained to reporters over the weekend that their commanders have instructed them to prepare to fight through the winter. This added to recent signals from the Russian government and military command that they no longer expect an early end to the war. The first deputy commander of Russian forces in Chechnya confirmed this yesterday when he said that he sees "no light at the end of the tunnel" and that "fully eradicating the criminal Dudaevite regime will be a long process."
Russia’s new defense minister, Igor Rodionov, pointed in the same direction yesterday. He told Russian television in his first interview since his appointment that the military campaign in Chechnya will continue. In an interview recorded on Saturday and screened on Sunday, Rodionov said was not possible to stop the military intervention right away and continued use of force was inevitable. Questioned about the high number of civilian casualties in Chechnya, Rodionov said all Russia’s military operations should be "surgically precise," but admitted that Russia’s capabilities are not yet sophisticated enough to make that possible. (NTV, July 28, reported by Itar-Tass, Xinhua and BBC, July 29)
World Bank Loan to Modernize Russian Coal Industry.