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Chechnya: Lebed Talks With Russian Military And May Meet Chechen Leaders

Grozny, 15 August 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian security chief Alexander Lebed today held talks with Russian military officials and pro-Moscow Chechen leader Doku Zavgayev at the Khankala military base outside Grozny.

Itar-Tass says Lebed, who arrived in Chechnya this morning with broad new powers to end the conflict, is also expected to meet Chechen separatist chief of staff Aslan Maskhadov for the second time in less than a week. Separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev also has requested a meeting with Lebed.

Emerging from the meetings in Khankala, an angry Lebed said he will name "all the heroes of the Chechen war" at a news conference in Moscow tomorrow.

Today's meetings helped Lebed establish who was responsible for the fighting of the past few days between Russian soldiers and Chechen fighters. The fighting began after separatists launched a raid on the Chechen capital last Tuesday.

Lebed did not elaborate, but Tass quoted him as saying there are people "clearly interested in continuing military operations in Chechnya."

Lebed's arrival in Chechnya was meant to bolster a temporary informal ceasefire agreed to yesterday. RFE/RL correspondents in Chechnya say the ceasefire appears to be holding today through Grozny and most of Chechnya.