Russia’s Foreign Ministry yesterday denounced Czech President Vaclav Havel for remarks in which the Czech leader reportedly defended NATO’s authority to carry out military operations without UN sanction. Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Vladimir Rakhmanin told reporters that Moscow had “paid attention to the speech [made] by… Havel at an annual meeting of the Czech army leadership.” Rakhmanin noted that Moscow had especially heeded Havel’s statement in support of NATO military actions outside the alliance’s zone of responsibility.
The Czech president’s remarks presumably referred to threatened NATO air strikes on Yugoslavia. His words prompted Rakhmanin to repeat Moscow’s now-standard injunction that NATO military action in Yugoslavia without UN sanction would “lead to the breakup of the existing legal system of international relations [and] violation or revision of the UN Charter.” (Itar-Tass, November 5).
In the same press conference in which he criticized Havel, Rakhmanin asserted Moscow’s and Belgrade’s joint opposition to threatened NATO strikes on Yugoslavia. Rakhmanin spoke following talks in Moscow between a Serb parliamentary delegation headed by Deputy Premier Vojislav Seselj and Russian First Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksandr Avdeev (Russian agencies, November 4).
CONFRONTATION IN CHECHNYA MAY BE REACHING CRITICAL MASS.