The standoff between approximately 200 Chechen fighters and a growing contingent of Russian troops in the Dagestani village of Pervomaiskaya continued into a second day Friday. Russian commanders refuse to let the convoy cross into Chechnya until rebel leaders release the estimated 160 hostages they still hold. Salman Raduyev, leader of the "Lone Wolf" rebel band that raided the town of Kizlyar where the hostages were seized Tuesday, told reporters his men would "hold out to the last bullet, to the last drop of blood." He also asked that foreign aid representatives and journalists accompany the convoy when it crossed the border. Itar-Tass reported that the rebels had agreed in principal to free women and children on the condition that the Russians create a safe corridor into Chechnya. There were conflicting reports as to whether any of the hostages had been harmed. Negotiations were set to resume on Friday. (1)
…As Yeltsin Returns to Moscow.