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Russia Committing 'Genocide' in Chechnya, Polish Intellects Say

Warsaw, July 31 (RFE/RL) -- Polish opposition leaders and prominent intellectuals in Warsaw are condemning what they call Russian "genocide" in Chechnya.

In a letter published in Polish newspapers today, they called for international protests to prevent the Russian Federation from continuing what they termed "the extermination of the Chechen nation."

They said the Chechen people have a right to self-determination. To deprive them of that right through aggression and armed occupation was "a criminal policy" which would fail amid great human suffering.

The letter calls for elections and referendums to resolve the issues. It was addressed to the Council of Europe as well as to "world opinion."

Signatories included Bronislaw Geremek, head of Poland's parliamentary foreign affairs committee; Wladyslaw Bartoszewski and Andrzej Olechowski, former foreign ministers; and Hanna Suchocka, former prime minister.

Others were Leszek Balcerowic, who heads the centrist Union for Freedom; Warsaw mayor Marcin Swiecicki; and Jerzy Turowicz, the editor of the Catholic journal "Tygodnik Powszechny."