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Chechnya: Russians Say Troops Not Involved In Massacre

Grozny, 21 March 2000 (RFE/RL) - Russia's main Military Prosecutor's Office says an investigation has concluded that Russian servicemen were not involved in a reported massacre in a suburb of the Chechen capital. The international human rights group Human Rights Watch had said Chechen refugees reported Russian soldiers systematically robbed and killed more than 60 civilians in the village of Aldi. The killings reportedly took place in early February, a few days after most of the rebels in Grozny fled the city. The Military Prosecutor's Office said yesterday an investigation which included dozens of statements indicated Russian troops were not involved. Sergei Yastrzhembsky, Russia's spokesman on Chechnya, said that investigation of the alleged killings has been turned over to prosecutors in Grozny.

Meanwhile, acting President Vladimir Putin flew to Grozny yesterday and met with Russian military commanders. Putin said he was ready to solve problems in Chechnya through peaceful talks.