Saying "It is necessary to use force to liquidate the bandits," Russian Defense Minister Pavel Grachev advocated storming the hospital where Chechen rebels hold over 1,000 hostages. A defiant Shamil Basayev, the leader of the rebel group, defied Grachev, saying: "Let them come and storm the place." Negotiations in the three-day old crisis have hit a standstill as the 200 rebels holed up inside the building rejected an offer of safe passage to Chechnya or any country willing to accept them. Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin is on his way to attempt a peaceful resolution, but his chances appear slim. The gunmen have killed five hostages already, and Basayev, who had lost all 11 members of his family to the war with Russia, insists that the Chechens will kill themselves and their captives unlessRussian troops leave Chechnya.