Russia: February 11, 2000

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The government announced that 1,175 Russian troops have been killed so far in the seven month Chechen campaign. Of those losses, 326 were Interior Ministry troops. It was the Interior Ministry troops that comprised most of the troops in Grozny. The army was often at the heart of the worst fighting, mainly because the elite army units were better able to handle the rigors of combat successfully. The Interior Ministry troops are a uniquely Russian organization. More than just a large paramilitary force, which many nations have, the Russian version has combat divisions. These units are not as heavily equipped as army divisions, and are meant to deal with situations like Chechnya. Interior Ministry troops can handle guerillas and are trained (not always thoroughly) to be as alert and effective when operating among a hostile population. The elite army units have more volunteers, and better morale and discipline. The Interior Ministry troops are largely conscripts, and more likely to break if put under too much pressure.

 

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