Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 138

The Russian command yesterday claimed to have killed 300 Chechen fighters, losing only 2 Russians killed in destroying Chechen resistance leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiev’s Makhketi headquarters. Independent observers questioned both figures and noted that most Chechen fighters had probably slipped out of the encirclement. Russian forces yesterday tightened a blockade around Vedeno and four other villages in the Vedeno district, apparently preparing "special operations" there.

Russia’s Maj. Gen. Leonid Taranov, commander of an MVD division based on the Volga, was yesterday appointed Chechnya’s internal affairs minister. The move is probably linked to the Kremlin’s plan to transform Chechnya’s MVD into a real fighting instrument against Chechen detachments. The move recalls the appointment earlier this year of another Russian general, Nikolai Koshman, as prime minister of Chechnya and can only exacerbate Chechen distrust of Moscow’s promises of autonomy.

In Moscow, a group of democratic personalities including Yelena Bonner, writers Andrei Bitov and Feliks Svetov, and Duma deputies Valery Borshchev, Yuli Rybakov, Viktor Kurochkin, and Viktor Sheynis charged in a statement that the resumption of military operations in Chechnya amounted to a betrayal of Boris Yeltsin’s promises to the voters.

In a rare consensus, the Chechen resistance and the collaborationist authorities yesterday dismissed a story blaming a fictitious Chechen field commander for the recent bombings of two buses in Moscow. The German embassy in Moscow yesterday issued the text of a statement by Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel condemning the resumption of Russian military operations in Chechnya and urging Ireland, the current chairman in office of the European Union Council, to lodge a protest in Moscow in the EU’s name. (Russian and Western agencies, July 14 and 15)

Moscow Protests U.S. Trade Restrictions.