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Russia: Some Troops To Be Withdrawn From Chechnya

Moscow, 4 February 2000 (RFE/RL) - A senior Russian commander said today the number of troops deployed in Chechnya will be reduced following the capture of the capital, Grozny. The first deputy chief of the general staff, Valery Manilov, says Russia will withdraw what he terms "a considerable part of troops engaged" in Chechnya.

The Associated Press quotes Russian officials as saying 93,000 troops are deployed in Chechnya. This is more than permitted under internationally approved limits.

Manilov said nearly 1,300 defense and interior ministry soldiers have been killed since fighting began last year. He said nearly 4,000 defense and interior ministry soldiers had been injured.

Russian forces today continued to attack some 1,000 Islamic insurgents trapped in villages after retreating from Grozny. Army spokesmen say rebel fighters are mounting fierce resistance in Alkhan-Yurt and Sakan-Yurt, just east of Grozny.

Russian and Chechen reports say many insurgents died or were injured in Russian minefields during a mass withdrawal from Grozny this week.