Russian President Boris Yeltsin’s envoy in Chechnya escaped injury when a bomb exploded near his car Wednesday morning, but the incident threw an already shaky peace process into further disarray.
Envoy Oleg Lobov, a close Yeltsin aide, was near the Chechen capital of Grozny when the blast struck as his car was crossing a bridge. Russian television showed footage of a gaping hole and twisted metal in the span. Military sources told the Interfax news agency that a remote-control device and more than 400 pounds of unignited explosives were found near the site. No serious injuries were reported.
Russian officials charged that Lobov was the target of an assassination attempt. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told Russian television that Russia will not allow Chechen militants to provoke it to war. “We’ll sort things out,” he said. “We’re not going to go to war.”