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Russia: Defense Minister Visits Chechnya

GROZNY, 11 September 2001 (RFE/RL) -- Reports say Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov arrived today at the headquarters of Russian forces in Chechnya. Interfax quotes unnamed military officials as saying Ivanov is to meet military commanders at the base in Khankala, near the capital Grozny.

Earlier this year, the Kremlin announced a scaling down of the Russian military presence in Chechnya, claiming the situation in the breakaway republic has stabilized. But troop withdrawal has effectively halted and, in recent weeks, Chechen fighters have increased their attacks on Russian forces.

Interfax reports a police post in Grozny came under fire last night. One senior Russian military officer was wounded.