A massive security sweep in the volatile province of Ingushetia bordering Chechnya became a response to increasingly frequent attacks against police and officials there, news reports said.
Russia's Deputy Interior Minister Arkady Yedelev arrived in Ingushetia Wednesday to take charge of the security sweep he said was necessary to uproot "bandits" roaming the region who came from Chechnya, the Interfax news agency reported.
Large-scale battles in Chechnya ended years ago, but rebels continue to mount frequent raids and landmine explosions against federal forces and local authorities in Chechnya and neighboring regions.
The sweep in Ingushetia comes a day after President Vladimir Putin boasted of the government's efforts to stabilize the restive Caucasus region, saying that it would have been impossible for Russia to win the 2014 Winter Olympics bid without bringing the Caucasus under control.
"If we hadn't restored our territorial integrity, if we hadn't stopped the confrontation in the Caucasus which we had 5-7 years ago ... we wouldn't have seen any Olympics," Putin told activists of youth organizations on Tuesday.