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Chechnya's Kadyrov claims peace

Ramzan Kadyrov
Ramzan Kadyrov said Chechnya was one of Russia's quietest regions

Kremlin-backed Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov says Russia's anti-rebel operations in the region are due to end shortly, a decade after they began.

Moscow's second war in Chechnya since the fall of the USSR was launched to oust the rebel government and helped propel Vladimir Putin into the Kremlin.

Mr Kadyrov said the insurgency by separatists and Islamist militants had been virtually wiped out.

Moscow has not responded officially to his comments.

However, unnamed sources in the Kremlin told news agencies there were plans to end Russia's Chechen "anti-terrorist operation".

"Such an issue is being worked out but it's too early to talk about the time frame," one official told AFP news agency.

Russia still keeps thousands of federal troops in Chechnya.

'Quiet region'

Mr Kadyrov said on Wednesday: "We've long finished the struggle against terrorists. I believe an official document on ending it will be signed at the end of March."

Russian forces in Grozny, Chechnya, 2000
Chechnya's capital Grozny was destroyed during the war

He called Chechnya "one of the quietest regions" of Russia, and said he believed there were no more than 70 militants remaining in the Chechen mountains, "and we'll finish them [off] within the next month".

Chechnya is much more stable than a few years ago but human rights groups have deplored the authorities' methods.

Mr Kadyrov has said there is no need for any official opposition parties in the region.

Some critics of his government have been murdered, and there have been numerous allegations of abduction and torture.

Mr Kadyrov has dismissed such claims and denies any involvement.

Russia launched its second Chechen war in 1999 under President Boris Yeltsin, shortly before he resigned and handed over to Mr Putin.

The first war, begun in 1994 after Chechnya declared independence in 1991, ended in defeat for Russian forces.

Mr Kadyrov once fought with the separatists against Moscow's rule but later switched sides and has pledged his loyalty to the Kremlin.

His father, Akhmad Kadyrov, was assassinated with a bomb in May 2004, after siding with the Russians and becoming president.



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