. Russian president Boris Yeltsin told a news conference in Almaty that Russia has no territorial claims against Ukraine, Kazakhstan, or other newly independent countries, "which are as indivisible as Russia is. We do not claim even an inch of other countries’ territory, but neither will we give up ours," Yeltsin said in the context of explaining Moscow’s refusal to countenance Chechnya’s secession. He went on to state that "deeper integration" among CIS member countries "does not affect their independence and sovereignty." (Itar-Tass, April 27)
The war in Chechnya has forced Moscow to invoke the principle of territorial integrity of USSR successor states with a somewhat greater degree of emphasis than it has previously done. However, this new constraint has failed to significantly affect its policy on Sevastopol, Transdniester, or Abkhazia, where Moscow seeks military bases and, in the latter two cases, backs secessionist movements without formally challenging the countries’ "external borders."
Mass Protests in Belarus Against Merger with Russia.