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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Auditor: Disclose War Costs

Sergei Stepashin, head of the Audit Chamber, said Monday the government should reveal to the public how money is spent in Chechnya by writing separate items into the budget for war expenditures.

He suggested the money was nearly enough to pay off Russia’s huge foreign debt payments this year.

"We could largely pay the Paris Club [of creditor nations] if we didn’t have the huge additional expenditures of the counter-terrorist operation in Chechnya," Stepashin said on NTV television. "We are now beginning to check [spending on] Chechnya … and these checks will be constant."

Russia is scheduled to pay about $3.5 billion of its debt to the Paris Club in 2001, but is seeking to postpone some payments.

Meanwhile, seven soldiers were killed and 18 were wounded in fighting in Chechnya over the past 24 hours, an official with the Kremlin-appointed Chechen administration said Monday.

Russian positions were especially vulnerable over the weekend because cloudy weather grounded fighter jets and helicopters in much of the province, the official said on condition of anonymity.

In a particularly violent episode Friday, seven paramilitary policemen were killed by a bomb that went off in a bathhouse in the village of Shelkovskaya, the official said.

The bomb was concealed in a wall of the building and apparently set with a timer to explode as the policemen were bathing.