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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grozny Seeks Troop Reduction

Chechen President Alu Alkhanov said Monday that the federal troop contingent should be reduced and that security was improving in Chechnya.

Alkhanov said the number of troops in the republic could be cut by several thousand. He did not specify the troop force currently in the republic, where rebels have fought federal forces for most of the past 11 years. Reports in March said at least 57,000 troops were deployed there.

Alkhanov also said the number of terrorist acts in Chechnya had dropped sharply over the past year, with 39 in 2005, compared with 113 in 2004.

The largest attack in Chechnya over the past year took place in July in the town of Znamenskoye, when 11 police and four other people were reported killed.

Large-scale offensives in Chechnya mostly ended by mid-2000, but federal forces have not been able to drive rebel fighters from the republic's southern mountains.

The Kremlin, which refuses to negotiate with the rebels, has sought to undermine them by promoting civil-society measures in the republic, including presidential and parliamentary elections. However, those elections have been widely criticized as undemocratic.

On Monday, the Interior Ministry's southern division announced that two insurgents had been arrested in Chechnya on suspicion of taking part in the killing of an unspecified number of police officers and troops.