As the cleanup continued, the death toll from the May 27 earthquake on Sakhalin reached 1197 June 5, Itar-Tass reported. Moscow tried unsuccessfully to limit the political damage from Yeltsin’s outburst last week against Japanese aid. On June 3, Yeltsin’s spokesman said that the Russian president regretted his “rather emotional remarks” about Japanese use of aid to put pressure on Moscow to return the Kurile islands; but in the statement, the spokesman repeated the argument that that is what Tokyo would do. On June 4, the French Secretary of State for Emergency Humanitarian Assistance Xavier Emmanuellie sharply criticized Moscow for being unwilling to allow Western experts to help with the disaster even though the Russian government has now accepted food and medicine from abroad. “They don’t want [such assistance]” Emmanuellie said. “They probably prefer to sacrifice their population than to allow foreigners into this sensitive territory.” In a related development, Russian officials banned foreign correspondents from the region, Rossiiskaya gazeta reported June 3.
Moscow Against Change in UN Mandate in Bosnia.