Moscow, 25 May 2000 (RFE/RL) - Chechen militants reported today on their website that they have lost 1,380 men since fighting started with Russia in the breakaway republic last September. Last week, Russian military officials said they had lost 2,004 soldiers. Casualty figures from both sides are impossible to verify and are generally believed to be higher.
Meanwhile, Russia's foreign and defense ministers yesterday reiterated accusations that Afghanistan's ruling Taliban are training Chechen rebels. The two ministers said Russia may consequently launch air strikes against the Taliban, which has denied it is training the insurgents.
U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright yesterday told Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov at a NATO summit in Italy that Moscow should return to troop limits set in the treaty on Conventional Forces in Europe. Russia says it has 80,000 troops in Chechnya, which exceeds the treaty limits.