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Chechnya: Russia Repeats Refusal To Talk To Maskhadov

Vladikavkaz, 12 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russia's spokesman on Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, says Moscow will not negotiate with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov in an effort to end the conflict in the Russian republic. Yastrzhembsky spoke in North Ossetia's capital of Vladikavkaz, where he arrived for a previously unscheduled trip. Yastrzhembsky said at a press conference that Maskhadov is "no partner" for talks on Chechnya. Yastrzhembsky spoke after 18 Russian troops were killed in an ambush in the republic of Ingushetia yesterday. Russian officials said the attack was a sign the Chechen fighters are preparing to expand hit-and-run attacks to areas outside of Chechnya.

Ingush President Ruslan Aushev criticized the Russian military today for failing to secure Chechnya's border and prevent the rebel attack.

In a separate development, three people were killed and 18 wounded today when a remote-controlled device destroyed a bus in the Chechen settlement of Dhaglarbi in the Vedeno region.