Moscow, July 8 (RFE/RL) -- Russia's commander in
Chechnya, has denied earlier reports he has been sacked by President Boris Yeltsin.
Quoted by Itar-Tass today, Vyacheslav Tikhomirov said he still
remains in charge of Russian forces in the Caucasus republic.
Interfax had reported earlier today that Yeltsin had issued a decree
removing Tikhomirov from his post and replacing him with Lt. General
Constantin Kulikovsky, deputy commander of the North Caucasus
Presidential spokesman Igor Ignatyev also refuted the interfax
report today saying there is no such decree removing Tikhomirov, who
reportedly is viewed as a hardliner by the Chechen separatists.
Ignatiyev also accused interfax of spreading, what he called, false
Itar-tass said Tikhomirov returned to the Chechen capital Grozny
today, after giving, what he called, a lengthy report on the 19-month
war to the Security Council in Moscow.
Meanwhile, Russian checkpoints remain up in Chechnya today despite
the passage of a peace accord deadline for dismantling them. Interfax
quoted a Russian military official as saying 11 roadblocks had been
removed but another 30 remain. The Russians accuse the Chechen separatists of
violating last months accord signed in the Ingush capital Nazran.
The Chechen separatists, accuse the Russians of increased attacks on
Chechen villages in the last few days.
Today, Chechen separatist spokesman Movladi Udugov said the
separatists are willing to meet newly-appointed security council
secretary Alexander Lebed when he visits the region at a still
undetermined date. But a spokesman for Lebed has said such a meeting
could only take place if the head of the Moscow-backed government,
Doku Zavgayev, requests it.