LETTER: Despotism is no answer

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The Independent Online
From Mr Stephen Oleskiw Sir: We are writing to you to express our protest against the current intervention of the Russian military in Chechnya. Like all who stand for the worldwide values inherent in the term "human rights", we call for an end to this military action and for negotiations, in an appropriate international forum, that will lead to a just, peaceful and lasting settlement.

One hundred and fifty years ago, in his poem, The Caucasus, the national poet of the Ukraine, Taras Shevchenko, described the human tragedy resulting from an earlier intervention of Russian troops in the area - of the land, "strewn with conscripts' scattered bones", and of the "sea full-flood of tears" shed by the bereaved of both sides. How many times, and how long, must these tears continue to flow?

Sincerely, STEPHEN OLESKIW Director Ukrainian Information Service London, N1

29 December