Russia: May 12, 2003


The Interior Ministry is expected to take control of the operation in the North Caucasus by September 1, 2003. A total of 20,000 servicemen of the Interior Ministry troops (mostly in the 46th Brigade) presently stationed in Chechnya will mainly be responsible for security. These functions are currently being performed by the Federal Security Service (FSB). The joint decision between the Interior Ministry, FSB and Defense Ministry will also involve the pullout of excess troops. The Interior Ministry troops have already withdrawn some of their tank and artillery units from Chechnya. To compensate for the withdraw of Interior Ministry troops, the regular rotation of airborne troops has been pushed back from May to June. The Russians maintain 2,500 paratroopers in Chechnya, in two Battalion groups and one Airborne Regiment. - Adam Geibel


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