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    FEDERAL FORCES TO TIGHTEN SECURITY IN CHECHNYA AHEAD OF PRESIDENTIAL VOTE

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    GROZNY, MARCH 3 (RIA NOVOSTI) - Federal Russian military units gathered Wednesday in Khankala, outside the Chechen capital of Grozny, to discuss security measures ahead of the March 14 presidential vote. Khankala serves as the base for the Russian Joint Group of Forces in the North Caucasus.

    Addressing the gathering, Valery Baranov, head of the Group, said that the situation in the republic remained unstable. According to him, Chechen militants have not given up their subversive practices, and may well launch terror attacks in the days preceding the vote and on election day. About eighty militant groups are still operating on Chechen territory, Mr. Baranov reported. He acknowledged a lack of coordination between forces involved in the counter-terrorism campaign in Chechnya and urged them to cooperate more closely in trying to prevent acts of terror.

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