President Boris Yeltsin apparently plans to order a halt to combat operations in Chechnya during celebrations marking the end of World War II and a U.S.-Russian summit in May.
Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin told reporters he expects Yeltsin to issue a presidential decree in the next few days suspending the Russian military offensive in the rebel republic.Russia has failed to defeat Chechen secessionist guerrillas despite 41/2 months of fighting, and Yeltsin is anxious to avoid any flare-up in fighting during the May festivities.
Yeltsin scored a diplomatic victory by persuading Western leaders to come to Moscow despite their objections to the war, and any major outbreak of hostilities in Chech-nya would be an embarrassment.
Chechen fighters have said previously they would not lay down their arms until Russian troops withdrew from their homeland. No serious talks have been held.