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Russia: Ivanov Urges Restraint In Assessing Chechen Situation

Moscow, 9 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov has asked European parliamentarians to exercise sober judgment when assessing the situation in Chechnya. Russia has come under heavy international criticism for alleged human rights abuses in Chechnya, though Moscow denies the accusations. The Council of Europe has said Russia could face sanctions if it does not improve its human rights record. It sent a fact-finding mission to Russia which is to visit Chechnya later this week. Ivanov today told members of the delegation that so far the international discussion of the Chechen conflict has been "excessively emotional."

Russian commanders today claimed to be in complete control of the strategically important Argun gorge in the south. Fighting, however, continued around the village of Komsomolskoye near the mouth of the gorge. A Russian commander said about 700 Chechen fighters were defending the village.

The International Red Cross Committee said Russia was in breach of the Geneva convention on treatment of prisoners, wounded, and civilians.