Defense minister Pavel Grachev told the media that he and Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin had been surprised by the statement of the commander of Russian troops in Chechnya, Anatoly Romanov, that 8,000 Russian troops were being withdrawn from that republic. Grachev said that he gave no such order, that reports on the disarmament of pro-Dudayev forces are strongly exaggerated, and that the situation in Chechnya is nowhere near as "rosy" as Romanov depicted it. Meanwhile, Dudayev’s chief negotiator in Grozny, Khodzhakhmed Yarikhanov, warned that forces loyal to the Chechen president will indeed stop handing over their weapons if Russia does not begin disarming pro-Moscow Chechen military formations. (6)
Early Local Elections Promised.