European, U.S. Delegations Assembles At Airport, Other Officials Depart
MOSCOW (AP) _ The top U.S. diplomat and European envoys assembled today at a Moscow airport in hope of flying to the Crimea to meet with Mikhail S. Gorbachev.
″We are going on a trip. We hope to see what we want to see,″ said Jap Ramaker, the charge d’affairs from the Dutch Embassy, who said he was representing the European Community.
A guard at the gate of Vnukovo Airport said that Russian Prime Minister Ivan Silayev had arrived at the airport earlier in the day. The guard, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said none of the coup leaders had been at the airport. He said he was ordered to allow no journalists inside.
However, Oleg Poptsov, head of Russian television, said in an interview that three planes took off earlier from Vnukovo.
Sources said that one of the planes contained KGB chief Vladimir Kryuchkov, one of the coup leaders, and Communist Party Deputy General Secretary Vladimir Ivashko.
President Bush told a news conference today that Yeltsin told him that five members of the coup leadership had fled Moscow and that one was hospitalized - Prime Minister Valentin Pavlov.
The sources, also speaking on condition of anonymity, said another plane contained Silayev, former Interior Minister Vadim Bakatin and senior Gorbachev aide Yuri Primakov.
Earlier today, the Russian Parliament voted to send a Russian delegation, headed by Silayev to the Crimea to meet with Gorbachev, who has been reportedly detained at his vacation retreat by the hard-liners who took power Monday.
Bush quoted Yeltsin as saying that the Soviet delegation wanted Gorbachev ″back in power. He was constitutionally put into office and they want to have the law fully observed.″
The chairman of the Supreme Soviet legislature, Anatoly Lukyanov, also flew to the Crimea to meet with Gorbachev, national parliament spokesman Arkady Maslennikov said. Tass earlier reported the Lukyanov departure, but later retracted the story without explanation.
The Western diplomats included U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission James Collins; the ambassadors of Greece, Britain, Portugal, Italy and Luxembourg.
The Dutch official said the group had assembled at the request of Russian Federation leaders.