Moscow, 29 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Two leaders of North Caucasian republics today said in separate interviews that Moscow has indirectly approached Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov with tentative peace proposals. North Ossetian President Aleksandr Dzasokhov told Russian RTR television that he was confident Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin will send an envoy to meet with Maskhadov.
Ingush President Ruslan Aushev told Reuters that he had acted as an intermediary between Moscow and Chechen leaders, passing Russian peace proposals. There has been no response from the Kremlin, however, and Russian Interior Minister Vladimir Rushailo said after arriving in North Ossetia that Moscow intends to destroy remaining Chechen resistance and capture Chechen leaders.
Moscow has consistently refused to negotiate with Maskhadov, regarding him as a criminal.
Maskhadov's spokesman, Movladi Udugov, told Western reporters the Chechen leader refuses to enter in any talks with Moscow as long as Russian troops are in Chechnya.
Meanwhile, fighting continued today in Chechnya's southeastern Nozhai-Yurt region. Russian warplanes and artillery continued attacking southern mountain passes.