Promises, Promises

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MOSCOW: Russian military forces in Chechnya have intensified their attacks against rebel positions in the republic over the past few days, using artillery, air power and armored vehicles to press ahead. As usual, each side disputes the other's boasts of inflicting high casualties, but the heated fighting gives the lie to Boris Yeltsin's repeated campaign vow to bring home Russian soldiers in the region. TIME's Yuri Zarakhovich reports from Moscow that Russia's military leadership is determined to prosecute the war to the point of a complete victory -- that is, either an unconditional surrender by the separatists or the annihilation of rebel forces. "It looks like they've given up all pretenses of seeking peace," he reports. With Yeltsin's re-election secured, Zarakhovich says the generals who control Russia's military believe that they are freed to do as they please. The disorganized new government, taking shape as Yeltsin continues his working vacation at a health resort near Moscow, is incapable of providing civilian control. Even powerful security chief Alexander Lebed, the former general who made his opposition to the Chechen war clear during a strong but unsuccessful presidential campaign, has apparently acceded to the wishes of the military's hard-line generals. -- Scot Woods