Russia: March 5, 2003


The Russians plan to withdraw an engineer (Sapper) battalion, an artillery division and some Interior Ministry units from Chechnya has started. The train carrying the 57th Sapper Battalion, escorted by two armored trains, has already arrived in Russia. Interestingly enough, the method of withdrawal sounds like something out of the Russian Revolution - the armored escort trains carry engineering equipment to detect and destroy landmines, as well as heavy armament capable of stopping rebel attacks. 

The withdrawals will total 1,270 servicemen and 200 pieces of military hardware over the next few days. About 30,000-35,000 servicemen from the 42nd Motorized Rifle Division, military commandant offices and assorted independent military units will remain in Chechnya on a permanent basis. The airborne group in Chechnya (one regiment-size task force and two battalion-size task forces mustering about 2,500 paratroopers) will also remain in place. The airborne group is currently tasked with holding Chechnya's mountain passes, preventing the rebels from slipping down into the urban areas. - Adam Geibel


A rebel bomb killed a pro-Russian warlord and some of his men. The Chechens are locked in a low level civil war over the issue of making peace with the Russians. 


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