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Chechnya: Rebels Issue An Ultimatum To Russia

Moscow, 4 July 2000 (RFE/RL) - Chechen rebels have given Moscow a 72-hour ultimatum to hand over a Russian officer accused of the rape and murder of a Chechen woman. Rebel spokesman Movladi Udugov told AFP that rebels would deliver new strikes against Russian forces unless they hand over Colonel Yuri Budanov, charged by Russian forces of raping and murdering an 18-year-old Chechen woman in March. The Chechen threat comes two days after a wave of rebel suicide bombings killed some 33 Russian soldiers in Chechnya. Earlier today, Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman for Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky, said the Interior Ministry had not taken adequate security measures to protect Russian forces in Chechnya. Following the deadly attacks, Russian forces today are continuing to enforce a curfew in Chechnya.

Meanwhile, in the Russian parliament, deputy Boris Berezovsky called for a political solution to the Chechen conflict. Interfax news agency reports that Berezovsky says a military victory in Chechnya is no longer possible.