RealNews

More Russian Troops Leave Chechnya

A train carrying Russian soldiers and military hardware pulled out of war-ravaged Chechnya on Friday, continuing a troop reduction ahead of a constitutional referendum later this month. Some 970 servicemen from the Sofrino Interior Troops brigade and 120 military armored vehicles left from the Khankala military base near the capital Grozny, Lt. Gen. Yevgeny Abrashin said, according to the Interfax news agency. Lt. Gen. Sergei Markarov, commander of the Defense and Interior Ministry forces in Chechnya, stood at attention and saluted the departing soldiers as the train headed out of the station, in footage shown on Russia’s NTV television. “I want to bow my head to you,” Interfax quoted him as saying. It was the second contingent of federal forces to pull out of the small southern republic in three days, part of the government’s pledge earlier this week to immediately withdraw 1,270 troops and roughly 200 pieces of military hardware. The withdrawal represents only a small fraction of the Russian force currently deployed in Chechnya, which military officials say is 80,000 but some estimate at 100,000. Full Story

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