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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sides Trade Accusations Of Peace Deal Violations

The fighting in Chechnya has nearly stopped, but tensions simmered and harsh words flew Wednesday over whether the sides are living up to the peace agreement.


Russian officials have reported almost-daily small attacks by separatist rebels, including two on Tuesday in which no one was injured.


But separatist leader Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev angrily denied the reports. The rebels are "not taking any steps that could be interpreted as violations of earlier understandings in any way," he told Tim Guldimann, the head of the OSCE mission, rebel sources told Interfax.


Yandarbiyev accused Russians of staging the attacks, the sources said.


Also on Wednesday, Russian deputy internal affairs minister Valery Fedorov criticized the separatists for trying to impose their own law while conditions are still unsettled.


He accused a top separatist, Kazbek Makhashev, of having "the point of view that in Chechnya there must be, for instance, his own criminal code. ... I cannot agree with this," Fedorov said.


The mostly Moslem republic has begun imposing strict anti-drinking measures, according to Itar-Tass.


Khadid Davdayev, a leader of the joint Chechen-Russian patrols trying to keep order in Grozny, said his men lash as many as 30 drunkards a night. "I pronounce a sentence right after I sniff a smell of vodka," he told Itar-Tass.


"We have been flooded with complaints by both Chechens and Russians, complaining of unjust punishments," said Russian Major General Vyacheslav Ovchinnikov.


The peace deal worked out by security chief Alexander Lebed and rebel leaders defers the determining of Chechnya's status until 2001 and calls for a coalition government in the interim.


Lebed met Wednesday with Doku Zavgayev, the head of the Kremlin-installed Chechen government, who is resisting the coalition government idea.


Lebed and Zavgayev discussed the formation of a coalition government for the region, Lebed's spokesman told Itar-Tass. "A power vacuum is dangerous ... let them make up their minds on a coalition government," Lebed told RIA news agency.