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Responding to widespread criticism over the number of civilian casualties in his offensive against Chechnya, Russian President Boris Yeltsin today ordered an end to the air strikes responsible for many of the deaths and the virtual destruction of Grozny, the Chechen capital. While he said the door was open to peace talks, Yeltsin also insisted that Chechnya had no right to secede from Russia and his air power would continue to bombard military targets in the republic. "Russian soldiers are defending the integrity of Russia," Yeltsin said in his speech. "The regime in Grozny is illegitimate. It violates the fundamental norms of the constitution of the Russian Federation." The response of Chechen leaders wasn't immediately clear, but previously a big sticking point has been the presence of Russian troops in the republic -- something Yeltsin refused to retreat from today.