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Yandarbiyev: We'll Use Any Means to Oppose Elections

Moscow, June 13 (RFE/RL) -- Chechen separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev says his fighters will use any means to oppose local Chechen elections planned this Sunday.

Yandarbiyev issued the warning today while speaking to reporters near the southeastern Chechen village of Vedeno.

When asked if such methods included force, he responded the Chechen separatists will use "any means."

At peace talks on Monday, Russian officials agreed to withdraw Russian troops from Chechnya by the end of August and to postpone elections until after that date. But despite the agreement, the head of the Moscow-backed Chechen government, Doku Zavgayev said yesterday the elections will go forward as scheduled.

Chechen separatist official, Ikhvan Gerikhanov, today warned the peace deal with Moscow would be annulled if the elections are held. as quoted by interfax Gerikhanov said Moscow should exert pressure on Zavgayev to postpone the ballot.

Russian officials have distanced themselves from the issue, saying it is an internal Chechen affair. President Boris Yeltsin today said he had not issued instructions to Zavgayev to go ahead with the poll.