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Russia: Chechens Free Two Russian Soldiers


Grozny, 25 September 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Russian military officials said today that they were continuing to withdraw their forces from Chechnya.

Itar-Tass news agency said the first unit of interior ministry troops was being pulled out today. Meanwhile a prisoner exchange appeared to be progressing with Chechen separatists reportedly freeing two more Russian servicemen in the south of the republic.

Our correspondent quotes the interior ministry press office as saying that 34 Russian soldiers and officers are still in Chechen hands. The report said the Chechens are ready to exchange them on the basis of "one Russian to two Chechens".

However, the Russian command in Chechnya said that the situation in the region remains tense, especially on the border between Chechnya and neighbouring Ingushetia.

In Moscow, Russian Security Council Secretary Aleksandr Lebed is expected to chair a meeting today of the government commission set up to settle the conflict in the breakaway republic.
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