Yeltsin sacks generals

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The Independent Online
President Boris Yeltsin yesterday took the first step in what is likely to be a shake-up of his military command after nine weeks of carnage in Chechnya.

He sacked two deputy defence ministers, Colonel-General Georgy Kondratev, an Afghan veteran critical of the campaign, and Colonel-General Matvei Burlakov, former commander of troops in Germany, suspended last year after the murder of a Moscow journalist who accused his units of corruption.

Still in the balance is the fate of the Defence Minister, Pavel Grachev, who is ridiculed in the press as corrupt and dangerous.

The sackings suggest Mr Yeltsin is trying to remove the stain of blood and graft that has jeopardised his authority and sullied the reputation of the demoralised armed forces.

nBonn (Reuter) - Russian troops took home about 6bn marks (£2.6bn) in criminal earnings in the course of their four-year pullout from eastern Germany which ended last August.A German documentary television programme, Panorama, reported yesterday that 5,000 luxury cars had been stolen every year and flown to Russia from Wuensdorf.