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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grachev to Visit Army in Transdnestr

Defense Minister Pavel Grachev will travel to Moldova on Monday to monitor the 14th Army in the secessionist Transdnestr region, following the removal of their popular commander, Itar-Tass reported.

Two days after Lieutenant General Alexander Lebed surrendered control of the Russian 14th Army, the army's status was still unclear, partly due to conflicting press reports.

Lebed, a popular figure who may be a contender for the presidency in 1996, long resisted the Defense Ministry decision to withdraw the 14th Army, which he said could result in "another Chechnya."

He submitted his resignation in protest in early June and President Boris Yeltsin accepted it two weeks later, appointing Major General Valery Yevnevich to succeed him.

The newspaper Segodnya on Thursday quoted Deputy Defense Minister General Konstantin Kobets, who accompanied Yevnevich to replace Lebed, as saying the withdrawal had already begun. "I consider that we have reached an end point to the recent tension. There already is no 14th Army," he said. "It has been replaced by an operational group."

But officials contacted at the 14th Army headquarters in Chisinau would not confirm the statement, and later issued a denial of the reports to Itar-Tass.

"We have received no such orders, and without that we cannot undertake anything," said Major General Yury Chuprakov, deputy commander of the army.