Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 41

Some units of Russia’s 58th Army, which entered the Ingush republic from Chechnya February 22, began pulling back yesterday, but other units remained stationed around several Ingush villages, according to Russian and Ingush sources. The Russian force had lost at least 14 killed and 20 wounded under presumed Chechen fire while advancing into Ingushetia. It then sealed off six Ingush villages in a search for resistance combatants, killing at least six civilians and wounding at least eleven in the villages of Arshty and Galashki. The troops stopped relief supplies to the villages and fired on cars carrying Ingush prime minister Mukharbek Didigov and other Ingush officials to the scene. But the troops also appeared disoriented, and their commanders seemed persuaded February 25 by Ingushetia’s Security Council to turn around rather than march on into the notoriously treacherous Asinovsk gorge.

In a joint statement February 23, Ingushetia’s president, parliament, and government expressed concern that "the fate of Pervomaiskoye awaits" Ingush villages; accused the Russian military of violating the federal and the republic’s constitutions by introducing troops without the consent of the Federation Council and Ingushetia; and demanded the troops’ immediate withdrawal. In an address February 24, the three also accused the Russian military of seeking to expand the war into Ingushetia and Dagestan and called on the leaders of all North Caucasus republics to schedule a meeting in Ingushetia to discuss measures to ensure the security of their peoples. Ingush president Ruslan Aushev, a general and veteran of the Afghanistan war, urged the international community to realize that "what is happening in Chechnya and Ingushetia is comparable to Afghanistan… Some want democracy, but it is evaporating with each passing day." The Federation Council adopted February 24 an evasive resolution on Ingushetia’s complaint. (2)

Dagestan Also Tense.