Despite Russian defense minister Grachev’s statement to Itar-Tass May 4 that most of the Chechen rebels had been destroyed and that the army would soon deal with the others, intense fighting continued in Grozny and in eastern Chechnya May 4-5. The Russian agency even noted that pro-Moscow Chechen officials were angry about the recent use of force by Moscow. The fighting is likely to intensify: Federal Security Service chief Stepashin told Chechen leaders May 3 that they must either surrender and be pardoned or they will be destroyed. Chechen military commander Aslan Makhadov told Itar-Tass that Chechen fighters would guarantee that the night of May 9-10–the time of the V-E Day commemorations and Clinton-Yeltsin summit–would be a time of “fireworks.” For yet another day, there was no word on the fate of American relief expert Fred Cuny, who has been missing since April 9.
…And Its Consequences Grow.