Grozny, March 13 (RFE/RL) - Chechen separatist leader
Dzhokhar Dudayev today denied Russian official reports saying that
leading separatist commander Salman Raduyev had been killed in recent
fighting in Chechnya.
Dudayev said today in an e-x-c-l-u-s-i-v-e phone interview with
RFE/RL that Raduyev, together with Chechen chief of staff Aslan
Maskhadov, recently reported injured, are continuing fighting.
Dudayev called the RFE/RL office in Moscow and said Raduyev and
Maskhadov are ready to meet Russian officials to confirm his words.
According to Dudayev, the recent separatist fighters' attack on
Russian positions in the Chechen capital Grozny was aimed at
revenging Russian violence against the Chechen people.
Clashes seem to have died out in Grozny today. The head of the
pro-Moscow Chechen government, Doku Zavgayev, told a press conference
that the situation is "under control."
But RFE/RL correspondents in Chechnya report snipers' activity in
Grozny. Military activity is reported in the area of the separatist
stronghold of Bamut, some 40 kilometers southwest of Grozny.
Itar-Tass news agency quoted the Russian military command in
Chechnya as saying that "sporadic fighting" was reported in the area.
But a senior Russian Defense ministry official in Moscow said n-o
decision has yet been taken on whether to storm bamut.
An RFE/RL correspondent in Bamut says some 50 separatist fighters
are now in the village, abandoned earlier by residents fearing a