Chechen leaders announced yesterday that they would unconditionally release civilian hostages brought from Dagestan. The size of the group, which escaped alive from Pervomaiskoye after it was carpet bombed by Russian forces, has not yet been disclosed. Resistance leaders said a group of Novosibirsk OMON officers who surrendered to Chechen commander Salman Raduyev in Pervomaiskoye would be exchanged later for Chechen fighters in Russian captivity.
At the same time, Chechen forces’ chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov and Chechen field commanders yesterday negotiated with Russian and Russian-installed Chechen authorities the release of two additional groups of hostages: 29 Russian workers seized at a Grozny heating plant January 16 and 30 Russian construction workers seized in Achkhoy-Martan district last month. (1)
Dagestan’s Loyalty to Moscow Undermined?