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Russia to Reduce Troop Strength in Chechnya by 1,000

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov says the government is cutting its troops in Chechnya by 1,000.

Mr. Ivanov made the announcement Friday at a military installation in the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don. He gave no reason for the action.

The Itar-Tass news agency says airborne troops and marine units in the mountainous regions of Chechnya will be withdrawn.

Mr. Ivanov says the only forces that will remain next year in the war-torn breakaway republic will be an infantry division and Defense Ministry commando forces.

Russia has been fighting separatists in Chechnya for most of the past decade, in a conflict that has devastated the region. President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly said the fighting is dying down, but the violence continues.

Some information for this report provided by AP.