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Friday, 24 March, 2000, 16:20 GMT
Russian troops to remain in Chechnya

A senior Russian official has said Russia intends to maintain a significant military presence in Chechnya in the future.

The government spokesman for Chechnya, Sergei Yastrzhembsky told the BBC that the Russian military would keep twenty-five thousand troops in the republic for an indefinite period, and a number of Interior Ministry forces would also remain.

He said this was necessary in order to deal with an estimated fifteen hundred rebels who were still holding out in the mountains.

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