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    OMSK, January 15, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent Alexei Berezin) -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov highly assessed the activity of contract paratroopers in the 76th airborne division in Chechnya.

    "One of this division's regiments is leaving Chechnya after fulfilling the combat task in its territory, the Pskov paratroopers achieved great results with minimal losses," the minister said at his meeting with leaders of the Siberian Federal District.

    "I met with contract servicemen who fought in Chechnya and can assure you that they can already be called the first professional soldiers of the Russian army," Sergei Ivanov pointed out.

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