Eighteen months after President Boris Yeltsin sent troops to crush a rebellion in Chechnya, Russian soldiers Tuesday began pulling out of the republic. But a report of a shooting incident illustrated the difficulty reconciling the two sides.
Residents of Chechnya's Achkhoi-Martan region told the Interfax news agency that the convoy transporting a Chechen separatist delegation home from peace talks was fired on early Tuesday, possibly by helicopters.Two unidentified people were said to be wounded in the convoy, which also included representatives of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The reported incident came as troops from the 245th motorized rifle regiment started to withdraw from around Shatoi, a village 30 miles south of the Chechen capital of Grozny, Interfax said. It quoted Col. Roman Sokolevski, head of the press center of Russian forces in Chechnya.
The pullout followed Monday's signing of agreements by Chechen separatists and Russian officials that call for the rebels to disarm and for Russian troops to leave Chechnya by Aug. 30.
In addition to the agreement on withdrawal and disarmament, the two sides set up a joint commission on releasing prisoners and locating the missing.