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Chechnya: Lebed, Kulikov Retain Posts; Grozny Situation Confused

Moscow, 19 August 1996 (RFE/RL) - Russian Interior Minister Anatoly Kulikov and security chief Aleksandr Lebed will retain their positions despite indications last week that they might resign.

The men threatened to step down after Lebed made an unprecedented verbal attack on Kulikov, saying he was responsible for the war in Chechnya.

But Sergei Yastrzhembsky, a spokesman for President Boris Yeltsin, said today that both men would retain their posts. Yastrzhembsky, who spoke at a news conference in Moscow, said Lebed, Yeltsin's special envoy to Chechnya, would remain in charge of settling the conflict.

Meanwhile, the head of the pro-Moscow government in Chechnya, Doku Zavgayev is in Moscow today for talks with Russian officials on the ongoing peace effort. Zavgayev is expected to meet Lebed and possibly Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin.

In Chechnya, separatist rebels said they had failed to sign a document on the technical aspects of the ceasefire agreement reached with Russian officials on Saturday.

Rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov said the two sides had not signed the document on the role of the commission set up to monitor the ceasefire because the Russians had insisted that the rebels withdraw from Grozny. But the two sides' deputy military commanders would meet again tomorrow, he said.

There are varying accounts of the situation on the ground today.

Some accounts said the ceasefire was generally holding, while others spoke of heavy fighting in the capital.