Rebel Fighters Reject Truce In Chechnya
Chechen rebels on Friday rejected a cease-fire declared by Russia in advance of a visit by world leaders to Moscow to celebrate the Allies’ World War II victory.
The Interfax news agency said the Chechen side rejected the truce as a propaganda ploy aimed at the 50th anniversary celebrations of Victory Day.
Scattered fighting continued as Moscow’s 14-day truce kicked in.
A Russian military spokesman said the truce was unlikely to be extended beyond May 12, the day after President Boris Yeltsin’s two-day summit with President Clinton that follows the May 9 V-E Day commemoration.
Russian troops poured into Chechnya, a predominantly Muslim region in the Caucasus Mountains, on Dec. 11 to end its 3-year-old bid for independence.
Thousands of civilians have died and the brutality of the Russian campaign has been sharply criticized. About 420,000 people have fled their homes.Clinton has called for the truce to be permanent and the pope has sent pleas for peace.
But Col. Gen. Leonty Shevtsov, spokesman for the armed forces general staff, said, “If there is no political solution by May 12, of course the fighting will resume.”
© Copyright 1995 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.