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Russia: Mothers Group Says Over 4,000 Soldiers Killed In Chechnya

Moscow, 22 March (RFE/RL) - The Russian Association of Soldiers' Mothers said today that at least 4,000 Russian soldiers have been killed in Chechnya since last autumn. The last official data on the number of Russian military casualties said that just over 1,600 servicemen had died in the conflict. The association says it bases its figures on lists supplied by regional branches of the group.

Russia's special representative on human rights in Chechnya, Vladimir Kalamanov, and the Council of Europe agreed today to open a human rights mission in Chechnya. Three experts from the council will be sent to the Chechen village of Znamenskoye to establish long-term projects once the agreement is formally approved by Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov.

Kalamanov told reporters during his visit to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg today that Russian prosecutors are considering 120 war crimes cases linked to the Chechen conflict.