Head of the Russian Federal Frontier Service: Militants in Pankisi Could Mobilize in Spring 2003

The Russian Federal Frontier Service has information on possible mobilization of militants in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge in spring 2003, said Head of the Russian Federal Frontier Service Konstantin Totsky.

The Head of the Frontier Service noted that at present the number of militants holing up in the Pankisi Gorge is smaller than prior to the operation carried out by the Georgian authorities in 2002. Totsky believes that after the move, some rebels retreated to the mountains, where, according to the Frontier Service, they set up summer bases. "When the pass opens in spring we expect new attempts to infiltrate Russian territory," Totsky noted.

The Head of the Frontier Service said that Russian border guards were cooperating with their Georgian colleagues "in an attempt to work out joint actions, although it is not easy." At present Konstantin Totsky is in the Leningrad Region (administrative center St Petersburg) for a working meeting with his Finnish counterpart.

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