Moscow rules out the possibility of international mediating in the settlement of the Chechen crisis. "It is out of question," the Russian competent sources reported commenting the presence of Besim Tibuk, the leader of the Turkish Liberal Democratic Party, at the meeting between Viktor Kazantsev, the Plenipotentiary Presidential Envoy to the Southern Federal District, and Akhmed Zakayev. This meeting took place the other day in the Sheremetyevo-2 international airport. The sources added that "there were two reasons" for the Turkish presence. First, Tibuk "sponsored Zakayev and paid for his return-ticket for the Instanbul-Moscow charter flight." Second, the sources reported that Zakayev himself considered the Turkish representative a "guarantor of his personal safety."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart