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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

08/21/1997

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Yeltsin Rips NTV, Defends Chechens

President Boris Yeltsin defended his new alliance with Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov on Wednesday, attacking the head of NTV television for accusing the Chechen government of complicity in the wave of kidnappings in the region. Yeltsin's outburst at a meeting of Russia's powerful Security Council was clearly designed to defuse the embarrassment caused by a personal attack on Maskhadov by Igor Malashenko, the president of NTV television. On Tuesday, Malashenko called Maskhadov the ""chief jailer"" of Chechnya and alleged that NTV had been forced to pay ransom to the Chechen government for three NTV journalists released this week. Before Malashenko's allegations were made public, Yeltsin stood next to Maskhadov in the Kremlin, hailing him as a partner in the region and promising to help him in his efforts to secure more independence for the separatist republic. Yeltsin brushed off the allegations Tuesday, slamming Malashenko for baiting the Chechen leadership. ""The Caucasus is a difficult region.

No Spies, Just Open Skies, on Test Flights

KUBINKA, Central Russia -- A Russian AN-30 military plane lifted off into sunny skies from the Kubinka air base Wednesday morning with an unusual cargo -- U.S. military observers armed with what in less friendly times might have been termed spy cameras. Their mission, on a flight that would have been unthinkable just a few years ago, was to photograph sensitive military areas as the plane flew south over Lipetsk, Krasnodar and Engels. It's all part of an effort to persuade the Russian State Duma that the Open Skies Treaty, signed by Russia, the United States and 25 other countries in 1992, is no big threat to national security and should be ratified. The U.S. Congress ratified the treaty in 1983, but it cannot take effect until the legislatures in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus approve it. Originally proposed by former U.S. president Dwight Eisenhower in 1955 as a confidence-building measure, the treaty was rejected by the Soviet Union.

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