In comparison with the previous year, losses of the Russian Interior Ministry troops in Chechnya have fallen 2 to 3 fold, said Vyacheslav Tikhomirov, the chief commander of the Russian Interior troops, on Sunday. Mr. Tikhomirov was speaking at the opening of exercises of top military commanders from all districts of Interior Ministry troops. The exercises are taking place at the base of the Novocherkassk Tactical Division of the North Caucasus District of the Russian Interior Ministry troops. According to Mr. Tikhomirov, this is for the first time in the last decade that exercises of such a scale are being held. The main purpose of the exercises is to practice and master actions against illegal armed groups. The exercises will focus on joint operations by Interior Ministry troops and other law enforcements. Representatives of Belarus are taking part in the exercises. Valery Gaidukevich, the deputy commander of the Belarussian Interior Ministry troops, said that cooperation between the Interior Ministry Troops of the two countries had become traditional. Mr. Gaydukevich stressed that since the structure and training levels of the two countries' troops differed insignificantly, the Belarussian Interior Ministry troops were prepared to unite with their Russian counterparts. The exercises will last until November 30. It is expected that Interior Minister Boris Gryzlov will visit the exercises' venue on November 28th.