President Boris Yeltsin yesterday again promised to unveil a "peace plan" for Chechnya, now setting March 31 as the deadline for the announcement, and still without offering any specifics. In recent days, members of the two commissions tasked by Yeltsin to produce a peace plan — and chaired by Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin and presidential advisor Emil Pain, respectively — said that the latest Security Council deliberations on the subject bore no relation to their drafts.
The Russian command announced yesterday that it plans to launch an offensive in southeastern Chechnya as soon as its forces complete the current operation in western Chechnya. The announcement suggests that Russian forces have lost the capability to conduct offensive operations in two sectors simultaneously, even in such a limited theater as Chechnya. In western Chechnya, Russian forces remain bogged down before Samashki, Bamut, Orekhovo, and Stary Achkoy, held by Chechen resistance units commanded by Ruslan Gilaev and Sultan Geliskhanov.
In Moscow, Yabloko presidential hopeful Grigory Yavlinsky yesterday appealed to the UN, the Council of Europe, and Russian citizens to urge Boris Yeltsin and his government to "come to their senses and stop lying and destroying everything alive in Chechnya." Yabloko, the Soldiers’ Mothers’ movement, and Memorial Society have formed an action committee which called yesterday for a nationwide week of protests from March 30 to April 6, including rallies and processions, against the "militarist policy of Russia’s leadership." (Itar-Tass, Interfax, NTV, Western agencies, March 24 and 25)
Ingushetia Fears Spread of War.