Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 18

Russianforces attacked throughout southern Chechnya May 23, withChechen forces counterattacking in at least nine places, Moscowtelevision said. The intensified fighting cast doubts thattalks between the Russians and the Chechens will in fact takeplace later this week. On May 23, OSCE officials said thatChechen president Dzhokhar Dudayev would not attend the talksbut would send the republic’s prosecutor Usman Imayev in hisplace, Itar-Tass reported. Russia will be represented by thechief of Moscow’s administration in the region, with SalambekKhodzhayev and Umar Avturkhanov attending for the puppetChechen government. Hungarian diplomat Andre Erdos isreportedly flying in to chair the meetings.

But the hoped-for talks may not take place. OSCEspokesman said a cease-fire would first have to be in place,something that looks increasingly doubtful. Moreover, Moscowmay now be less willing to talk. On May 23, Moscow radioreported that Yeltsin and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdinhad discussed both “military and peaceful” solutions to theconflict–even though Moscow had agreed “in principle” toattend the talks.

Again, on May 23, there was no further word on the fateof Fred Cuny, the American aid worker who has been missing inChechnya since April 9.

Yeltsin Veto May Delay Parliamentary Vote.