Russian negotiator Arkady Volsky said that the two sides had agreed on the most difficult aspect of the talks–on military questions–even though the military agreement would not come into force until the political and economic accords were reached, Russian radio reported June 23. The Russian military commander in the region, Gen. Anatoly Kulikov, said that since the talks began, there has been a radical change in the position of the Chechens: now, the overwhelming majority of Chechen forces are observing the cease-fire. He added that he now considered the leaders of the Chechen negotiating team–but pointedly not Chechen President Dzhokhar Dudayev–his partners in reaching an agreement. As the talks continued, Moscow officials announced that they were opening a criminal case against Shamil Basayev, the leader of the Chechen raid on Budennovsk, Itar-Tass reported June 22. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin said that Moscow will punish all the Chechen criminals, but he pointedly noted that he did not consider Chechen leaders Usman Imayev and Aslan Maskhadov, the two leading Chechen negotiators, as in the same category as Basayev and Dzhokhar Dudayev. Nonetheless both Imayev and Maskhadov showed that they are no less Chechen patriots when they spoke to demonstrators outside the meeting site in Grozny and said that “Chechnya was, is and will be forever,” and indicated that they would oppose any harm to Shamil Basayev.
Yeltsin, Grachev Denounce Security Services.