Russian authorities says three militants, including the leader of an armed group, have been killed in the Kabardino-Balkaria region in the volatile North Caucasus.
The National Antiterrorist Committee (NAK) said that the three men were killed in an operation in the region's Baksan district on December 18.
It said one of those killed was identified as Andzor Guchapshev, 28, who is wanted for leading a "criminal group" in the northeastern part of Kabardino-Balkaria.
The mostly Muslim provinces of the North Caucasus are plagued by attacks and fighting between security forces and militants in an Islamist insurgency stemming from two post-Soviet separatist wars in Chechnya, east of Kabardino-Balkaria.
Islamic militants and criminal groups routinely target Russian military personnel and local officials.
Based on reporting by Interfax and TASS