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Moscow Promises Compensation Money For Dagestan

Moscow , Jan. 25 (RFE/RL) - Russian President Boris Yeltsin met in Moscow today with the head of the Russian Federation's southern Republic of Dagestan to discuss financial compensation for victims of last week's hostage crisis in Kizlyar and Pervomayskaya.

Yeltsin's press secretary Sergei Medvedev said Moscow would spend 305,000 million rubles (about $66 million) to help reconstruct housing and municipal property destroyed during the hostage-taking and the subsequent Russian assault. He said an additional 35,000 million rubles ($7.6 million) would be given as a one-time compensation to victims of the crisis and their families.

Chechen rebels are still holding a group of Russian police commandos hostage, despite freeing more than 40 civilians seized during their raid into Dagestan.

The separatists released the hostages yesterday in the eastern Chechen town of Novogroznensky after a two-week crisis in which dozens of Chechen fighters and 27 Russian soldiers were killed.

Meanwhile, Salman Raduyev - the Chechen fighter who led the raid in Dagestan -- says 29 power station workers, believed to be mainly ethnic Russians, are also still in captivity. Raduyev has said they will only be released in exchange for Chechen prisoners.