Moscow and Grozny agree to another 48-hour ceasefire

Russian and Chechen commanders yesterday announced a 48-hour ceasefire, covering all types of weapons, to last until midnight tomorrow, writes Tony Barber. This builds upon a two-day partial ceasefire, agreed last Monday, which limited the use of heavy weapons. However, Russian soldiers (pictured above) are still armed and guarding the Presidential Palace.

In the meantime, Russia's Foreign Minister, Andrei Kozyrev, has told the Foreign Secretary, Douglas Hurd, that there will be no more bombing of Chechnya, and that President Boris Yeltsin remains committed to reforms, diplomatic sources said.

They said Mr Kozyrev told Mr Hurd in Stockholm on Tuesday that the West had not done enough to help Russia introduce reforms in the past and should support Mr Yeltsin now .

Mr Yeltsin delivers a state-of-the-nation address to the Russian parliament today which is expected to include criticisms of the military campaign in Chechnya. However, the main theme of the criticisms is expected to be that the operation to suppress the Chechen secession should have been more efficiently conducted.

Western governments have condemned the operation as brutal in its disregard for civilian lives. Mr Hurd told Mr Kozyrev that the offensive risked damaging a broad range of relationships between Russia, on the one hand, and Nato and the European Union on the other.

Mr Kozyrev replied that civilian institutions, rather than the Russian armed forces, were already playing an increasingly important role in Chechnya. Mr Kozyrev, who as foreign minister is not one of the principal shapers of policy on Chechnya, said the Russian authorities were looking to start a "political dialogue" in the Caucasian republic, where several thousand people have been killed and hundreds of thousands displaced since the crackdown began on 11 December last year.

The head of the Council of Europe said in London yesterday that Russia would be denied membership because of the Chechen war. Daniel Tarschys of Sweden said that as long as Russia ignored "basic rules and standards" of human rights, it would be inappropriate for Russia to join the council.

Photograph: AFP

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Finance / Accounts Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Well established and expanding ...

Recruitment Genius: Bench Locksmith / Engineer / Technician

£14000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading Key Cutting equipm...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - B2B Sales & Account Manager

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you great at forming strong...

Day In a Page

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss