Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 76

In a Moscow press interview today, Chechen Chief of Staff Aslan Maskhadov urged the prompt start of direct or mediated negotiations between Boris Yeltsin and Djohar Dudaev. Maskhadov said that the number of Chechen civilian casualties of the war and of Russian military casualties was rising, as was the number of prisoners being taken by both sides. Maskhadov said (as did Tatarstan’s presidential advisor Rafail Hakimov last weekend) that Chechen detachments were moving freely throughout territory nominally controlled by Russian troops and attacking those troops from the rear.

The Russian command acknowledged yesterday the loss of 26 soldiers killed, 51 wounded, and 23 armored personnel carriers destroyed, all in a single overnight ambush laid by Chechen fighters near Shatoi. Russian forces for their part were continuing artillery and aviation attacks on villages in the Urus-Martan and Vedeno rayons.

In an electoral campaign appearance yesterday, Yeltsin admonished the Russian public to learn from Western leaders and accept the need to use force in Chechnya as "a stronghold of international terrorism. This has long been understood by Western statesmen, in contrast to some of our compatriots, who have failed to comprehend this as yet." On the same day in Geneva, human rights campaigner Sergei Kovalev accused Western governments of condoning the brutalities in order to help Yeltsin get reelected. Kovalev predicted that the outlook for human rights in Russia would be equally bleak irrespective of the election’s outcome. (Nezavisimaya gazeta, April 18; Interfax, NTV, Western agencies, April 17)

No Answers on Russian Urals Complex.