Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 74

In a statement carried byItar-Tass August 15, President Boris Yeltsin gave Chechen forcesuntil 6:00 PM local time to comply with Moscow’s interpretationof the July 30 armistice terms. Yeltsin warned that Russian forcesmay resume hostilities unless the Chechen forces disarm. "Bandsin Chechnya are slowly coming back to life, becoming more active,and we can not allow them to crawl into the lowlands and intoGrozny and resume their bandit operations," Yeltsin said.However within an hour of Yeltsin’s ultimatum, Russia’s militarycommander Anatoly Romanov ruled out Russian use of force, andcontinued negotiations in Grozny with Chechen chief of staff AslanMaskhadov. Romanov seemed to be preoccupied with defusing tensions.

Yeltsin’s ultimatum follows Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin’swarning August 14 that if Chechen commanders failed to begin disarmingby 2:00 PM, his government would take unspecified "harshmeasures" against them. Internal Affairs Minister AnatolyKulikov in turn warned that "the military agreement mightbe implemented by force," Itar-Tass reported August 14. Chernomyrdinissued his warning after a discussion with Yeltsin which followedthe Duma’s vote in favor of imposing martial law in Chechnya.Chernomyrdin accused Dzhokhar Dudayev and his supporters of "completelyrevising" of the military accord of July 30. According toInterfax August 14, most Chechen commanders have ignored the Russianultimatum. Aslan Maskhadov, chief of staff and co-chairman ofthe armistice commission, declined to sign a new document, whichhe charged would revise the July 30 armistice by preventing theformation of self-defense units in Chechen villages–which wasa major Chechen gain in the original armistice agreement.

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