Chechnya `treason' charge

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The Independent Online
Fresh tensions erupted at the top of the Russian government yesterday when the Interior Minister, Anatoly Kulikov, accused Alexander Lebed of committing "national treason" by striking a compromise with Chechen separatists.

His remarks, made before the lower house of parliament, mark round two in a struggle between the two men which began in August, when Mr Lebed, the President's envoy to the war zone, accused General Kulikov of mishandling the conflict and called for him to be sacked. The minister counter-attacked yesterday, with guns blazing.

Describing the accord as a "cover for the most humiliating unilateral concessions", he alleged that the Chechens were violating the agreements by "trampling on them in the most rude way at every step."

His remarks evoked thunderous applause from the MPs. By contrast, Mr Lebed was met by shouts of "shame" and "traitor" when he defended his deal in front of the parliament.