President Mikhail S. Gorbachev says his main task is to achieve calm in the Baltics but that the independence-seeking republics must repeal all laws that conflict with the Soviet Constitution.
The Latvian leadership on Tuesday said Gorbachev agreed not to impose direct Kremlin rule.But skepticism remained three days after Soviet forces seized Latvia's police headquarters, leaving six people dead, and 10 days after a similar crackdown in neighboring Lithuania that left 14 dead.
Barriers blocked public buildings against possible attacks in all three Baltic republics.
The crackdown threatened to derail next month's U.S.-Soviet summit and jeopardize foreign efforts to help rescue the country's sliding economy. Several foreign governments, including the United States, considered cutting aid to Moscow.
In Washington, Congress was considering a resolution Wednesday chastising Gorbachev for the recent repression in Lithuania.
Latvian radio reported Wednesday that the republic will mark a day of mourning on Friday, the day of the funerals for those killed when Soviet "black beret" police stormed the Interior Ministry building Sunday.
Gorbachev, speaking at a news conference Tuesday,
denied responsibility for the violent crackdown in the Baltics.
"I see my main task in not allowing an escalation and struggle, to normalize the situation, to achieve accord and cooperation," Gorbachev said.
"In this connection, the following is necessary: anti-constitutional laws of the Supreme Soviets (parliaments) and decrees of the governments of the republics, most of all those which violate human rights, must be repealed," Gorbachev said in his statement.
On Tuesday Latvian President Anatolijs Gorbunovs met for 21/2 in Moscow with Gorbachev to discuss the Soviet military crackdown.
The Latvian president said Gorbachev agreed presidential rule was not necessary now in the republic. Gorbachev's powerful office allows him to impose direct rule in any of the 15 Soviet republics, meaning he could disband local parliaments and take other drastic steps.
A Latvian lawmaker expressed skepticism Tuesday that Gorbachev would be able to prevent further bloodshed. Andrejs Krastins, deputy chairman of the Latvian Supreme Council legislature said it was too early to say whether Gorbachev could control the military.