Russia says its security forces have killed 49 militants in an anti-terror operation in the North Caucasus region, home to a long-running Islamist insurgency.
In a videotaped statement released Sunday, a Russian Anti-Terror Committee spokesman (Nikolai Sintsov) said Russian forces also detained 30 militants, destroyed 90 militant bases and seized weapons caches throughout the region. The spokesman gave no time period for the operation, but he said it succeeded in suppressing the activities of what he called "notorious bandits" and disrupting their supply network.
Russia has struggled to contain violence in the predominantly-Muslim North Caucasus, where Islamist separatists have carried out sporadic bombings and other attacks on government targets this year. There was no immediate confirmation of the Russian anti-terror operation from insurgent groups.
In a meeting on Tuesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered his security chiefs to do more to ensure that domestic militants do not threaten a series of major upcoming events, including the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. He said it was a "matter of honor" that the events take place in a "normal, business-like and festive manner."
The North Caucasus insurgency is rooted in the Russian republic of Chechnya, where Russian forces crushed separatists in two wars in the 1990s and 2000s.