The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has suspended operations in Chechnya after unidentified gunmen shot and killed six aid workers sleeping in an ICRC building in a village south of the capital, Grozny. The aid workers were foreign nationals from Norway, Canada, Spain, New Zealand and the Netherlands. The ICRC has ruled out theft as a motive, saying the workers were deliberately targeted. Four of those killed were female nurses. (BBC World Service, December 17) A BBC correspondent says that, if the security situation deteriorates, Moscow might suspend the withdrawal of troops. This would suit not only the "war party" in Moscow but also hardliners in Chechnya. (See Perspective item below)
Some Russian Miners Still on Strike.