West tells Yeltsin: Pull back or no arms treaty West gives Yeltsin ultimatum on Chechnya

PRESIDENT CLINTON and the West squared up to Russia over the escalating war in Chechnya yesterday by announcing that the new pan-European arms treaty signed in Istanbul would not be ratified until Moscow pulled back its forces from the breakaway republic.

Rarely since the end of the Cold War has Russia appeared so isolated on the world stage, with one leader after another complaining about the indiscriminate way its forces are killing and wounding civilians.

The Russian newspaper Izvestiya commented: "It is autumn in relations between Russia and the West ... Cold winds are about to blow. It will soon be getting really frosty." It said the summit had "brought the West and Russia up against a barrier which could become a dividing line worse than the Berlin Wall or the Iron Curtain".

Even as Mr Clinton flew out from the bad-tempered two-day summit of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Russian warplanes were pounding targets in the breakaway republic. The fighters have conducted about 60 air-strikes over the past 24 hours, many of them indiscriminate, according to reports from refugees and human rights organisations.

Moscow warned yesterday that there will be no let-up in its air and land campaign against the Islamic insurgents, who are described by Mr Yeltsin as "bandits" bent on exporting terrorism. Mr Clinton's appeals to Russia to relent reflects growing unease in the West at the wide-scale human rights abuses in the republic.

The updated conventional arms treaty which was signed by leaders of countries from the Atlantic to the Urals - 54 nations in all - halves the numbers of warplanes, tanks and other heavy non-nuclear weapons in much of Europe. But the refusal by the West to ratify it underscores the chill that has crept into East-West relations since the war over Kosovo.

Britain, the US, and other European countries will only seek parliamentary ratification for the treaty after Russia has brought its forces on its southern flank - the Caucasus and Chechnya - beneath the limits. Robin Cook, the Foreign Secretary, said it was crucial to establish the credibility of the new treaty, and it would be undermined if it came into force while its limits were being breached.

The deteriorating relations between Moscow and the West were also visible in tensions over the 1972 anti-ballistic missile treaty and setbacks for Russia in the crucial oil and gas politics of the Caspian area.

The summit was dominated by the Chechen crisis, and ended with only minimal concessions from Moscow to hasten a negotiated end to the conflict, in return for Western agreement to sign the new Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) arms agreement and a separate charter setting out the principles of European security.

The summit's final document allows Knut Vollebaek, Norway's Foreign Minister and current OSCE chairman, to visit the Caucasus, and makes a nod to the organisation's possible "assistance" in reaching a political settlement. But the Russians would permit no specific mediation mandate for the OSCE, standing squarely by Mr Yeltsin's insistence on total victory.

The West's consolation from two days of relentless bargaining with Moscow has been the strong emphasis on human rights contained in the charter: above all protection for minorities and recognition that a human rights or humanitarian crisis in one state are matters "of immediate and legitimate concern" to all member countries. It also fought hard for the changes in the updated CFE treaty.

Unlike its predecessor of 1990, an agreement between Nato and the now defunct Warsaw Pact which led to the destruction of over 50,000 pieces of heavy weaponry, the new arrangements set limits on a state-by-state, rather than bloc-by-bloc basis. It also provides for more verification. "This will enhance peace and security in Europe," Mr Clinton said as 30 countries signed the deal.

The deal should also lead to Russia speeding up the withdrawal of its troops from the former Soviet states of Moldova and Georgia, and ending a military presence suspected by the new independent governments of being a means by which Moscow intends to keep them within its orbit.

Arts and Entertainment
Gregg Wallace in Summer's Supermarket Secrets
tv All of this year's 15 contestants have now been named
Arts and Entertainment
Inside the gallery at Frederick Bremer School in Walthamstow
tvSimon Usborne goes behind the scenes to watch the latest series
Life and Style
A picture taken on January 12, 2011 shows sex shops at the Paris district of Pigalle.
newsThe industry's trade body issued the moratorium on Friday
News
Winchester College Football (universally known as Winkies) is designed to make athletic skill all but irrelevant
Life...arcane public school games explained
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
Could we see Iain back in the Bake Off tent next week?
tv Contestant teased Newsnight viewers on potential reappearance
Life and Style
Silvia says of her famous creation: 'I never stopped wearing it. Because I like to wear things when they are off the radar'
fashionThe fashion house celebrated fifteen years of the punchy pouch with a weighty tome
News
i100(and it's got nothing to do with the Great British Bake Off)
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
peopleAsked whether he was upset not to be invited, he responded by saying he was busy with the Emmy Awards
News
Bill Kerr has died aged 92
peopleBill Kerr appeared in Hancock’s Half Hour and later worked alongside Spike Milligan and Peter Sellers
News
news It's not just the world that's a mess at the moment...
Sport
footballPremiership preview: All the talking points ahead of this weekend's matches
News
Keira Knightley poses topless for a special September The Photographer's issue of Interview Magazine, out now
people
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
Sport
Mario Balotelli pictured in his Liverpool shirt for the first time
football
Life and Style
tech
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
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

C# Algo-Developer (BDD/TDD, ASP.NET, JavaScript, RX)

£45000 - £69999 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: C# Algo-Develo...

Senior Data Scientist (Data Mining, Apache Mahout, Python,R,AI)

£60000 - £70000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Senior Data Sc...

Data Scientist (SQL,Data mining, data modelling, PHD, AI)

£50000 - £80000 per annum + benefits+bonus+package: Harrington Starr: Data Sci...

Java Developer - 1 year contract

£350 - £400 Per Day: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Cent...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone