In Washington the Clinton administration has also condemned the threat of renewed bloodshed in Chechnya. U.S. president Bill Clinton reportedly sent a letter to Yeltsin yesterday urging an end to the violence. A day earlier State Department spokesman Glyn Davies, referring to a Russian threat to use massive force in Grozny, had said that after 20 months of conflict it had become clear that the dispute could not be resolved by force. Davies added that Washington was "sending the same message privately that we’re sending publicly" to the Russians. (Reuter, August 20-21)
However, the administration was less critical in its public assessment of reports that Boris Yeltsin is seriously ill and that he may not be in control of the government. White House spokesman Mike McCurry refused to question the credibility of Russian government assertions that Yeltsin has been vacationing for more than a month and suggested that an absence of that duration was not necessarily a cause for concern. McCurry also emphasized that Washington continues to possess "regular channels of communication with high levels of the Russian government," but gave no indication as to whether those channels are providing Washington with reliable information on the increasingly worrisome events in Moscow. He did say that Yeltsin had not yet replied to the Clinton letter. (UPI, August 21)
World Reactions to Chechen Developments.