Russian Army Will Hold No Negotiations With Chechen Warlords

General of the Army Anatoly Kvashnin, the Chief of Russia's General Staff, has ruled out the possibility of holding any talks with Chechen separatist leaders: Maskhadov, Basayev, and Khattab. Kvashnin said Thursday that "no more mistakes would be made." "We stick to a hard line - no indulgences to the bandits," he stressed. The general said at the same time that Russian officers were negotiating with gangs' leaders about their surrender. Talks are also being held with ordinary fighters- "the deceived people who were turned into the bandits' accomplices." According to Kvashnin, the augmentation of the Russian forces had been withdrawn from Chechnya in November. Currently, the Russian forces deployed in the republic include the 42th Guard Mechanised Division stationed on a regular basis, several units of the North Caucasian military district, an Airborne Troops group and commandants' offices. According to the general, it is basically the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service forces and the commandants' offices that are in charge of the "targeted operations" in Chechnya. "We have been seeking and shall continue to seek the gangs leaders in Chechnya," he emphasised.

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