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Russia: Hostages Due To Be Released Today

Grozny, 17 December 1996 (RFE/RL) -- Twenty-two troops from Russia's Interior Ministry who are being held hostage by Chechen separatists are expected to be released today.

Rashid Isayev, the head of the internal affairs department in the Khasavyurt region of neighboring Dagestan, is quoted by Interfax as saying the soldiers will be handed over to Dagestani authorities later today.

Isayev said an agreement to free the troops was reached during a meeting yesterday between Dagestani officials and Chechen field commander Salman Raduyev, who is holding the hostages.