Aleksandr Lebed announced yesterday that his Security Council will henceforth control Russian policy on the Black Sea Fleet and Crimea. The policy and negotiations with Ukraine have until now been supervised largely by Lebed’s rival, Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin, from whom Lebed also took control of Chechnya policy. Beyond the internal power grab, however, Lebed’s announcement defines the Black Sea Fleet and Crimea as especially vital to Russian interests, apparently presaging a significant hardening of Russian demands to Ukraine. (Russian and Western agencies, September 9 and 10) (See Perspective item below)
Sporadic Fighting Reported from Mainly Calm Chechnya.