About 13 thousand Chechen rebels annihilated

Over the period of the anti-terrorist operation in Chechnya, the Federal Forces destroyed from 12 to 13 thousand rebels total, presidential spokesman for Chechnya Sergey Yastrzhembsky announced on Tuesday. He also said that current quantity of guerillas does not exceed 15 hundred men. Yastrzhembsky, however, admitted that the Federals have not succeeded in destroying rebel leaders, like Khattab or Basayev brothers. ''Until these bandits are destroyed we cannot claim that we are effectively controlling Chechnya,'' Yastrzhembsky was quoted by "Ria-Novosti" as saying. Yastrzhembsky denied the possibility of talks with the Chechen rebel leader and Ichkeria resident Aslan Maskhadov. ''He can not be a partner in negotiations, because he does not represent separatist guerillas,'' the presidential spokesman said.

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