The Kremlin's Claims That It's Almost Over...-Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov claimed on 6 December that Moscow will seek to smash rebel resistance in Chechnya with a winter offensive targeting the guerrillas' military leadership. There have already been several "sweeps" in December that saw limited success in capturing caches of arms and munitions.
Meanwhile, on the 7th Viktor Kazantsev (the Kremlin's commissioner for Russia's Southern Federal District) argued that Moscow is in a position to finish its military operation in Chechnya before spring of next year.
Moscow has been gradually pulling out all of their Regular units from Chechnya, save for the 42nd Guards Infantry Division, the airborne force's contingent and the Interior Ministry's 46th Brigade. According to the Moscow Military District's deputy commander Lieutenant General Alexander Belousov, four trains left Khankala with the personnel and combat equipment of the 6th and 245th Motorized Rifle Regiments. This meant that all motorized rifle and artillery units of the Moscow military district had been withdrawn from the breakaway republic. - Adam Geibel