ALKHAN-YURT/ NOVYE ATAGI, Russia -- The Chechen capital Grozny, pounded by Russian forces Wednesday, was quiet early Thursday as residents waited to see if peacemaker Aleksander Lebed could deliver on his promise to halt a threatened all-out assault.
The sound of explosions occasionally echoed across the countryside around the city, but they were far fewer than on Wednesday, when artillery bombardments went on for hours.
A couple of helicopters flew overhead, but did not appear to be firing and there was no sign of the fighter jets which screamed over the city Wednesday.
MOSCOW -- Boris Yeltsin's new security chief plunged Moscow politics into chaos for the second time in a week Tuesday, challenging the authenticity of presidential decrees on the Chechnya crisis and fueling speculation on whether Yeltsin was still running Russia.
Aides to the 65-year-old president, seen only once in public since he was re-elected seven weeks ago, insisted he was not ill but he remained out of sight.
MOSCOW -- Aslan Maskhadov, chief-of-staff of Chechen separatist forces, has yet to hear from Russian army commanders about a cease-fire in Grozny, Interfax news agency reported from rebel headquarters Tuesday.
Kremlin security chief Aleksander Lebed (pictured), who met Maskhadov in Chechnya Sunday night, told a news conference in Moscow Monday that Maskhadov was arranging a truce with acting Russian forces commander Konstantin Pulikovsky.
The BBC reported Monday that Lebed said President Boris Yeltsin could sign a decree within 48 hours ending the war.
MOSCOW -- A Russian watchdog group condemned the armed forces Monday for shooting at journalists in Chechnya and accused them of trying to obstruct free reporting in the breakaway region.
The Glasnost Defense Foundation issued a statement saying a helicopter gunship had opened fire on a car being used by the international news organization WTN and clearly identified as being a vehicle used by the media.
MOSCOW -- Russian troops backed by aircraft and artillery fire pounded what they said was a well-fortified rebel base Sunday on the second day of a battle in southern Chechnya.
The assault was a new stage of an offensive against Chechen separatist fighters that began after President Boris Yeltsin was re-elected on July 3 and defied calls by the Russian Parliament for an end to the violence.