Russian officials are reported to have collected most of the tax debt that the troubled oil firm Yukos owes for the year 2000.

A Justice Ministry official was quoted Wednesday as saying bailiffs have collected $2.6 billion of the $3.4 billion debt.

Yukos owes billions more for tax bills for subsequent years.

In another development, the Interfax news agency reports that the Tax Ministry has handed Yukos' key production unit, Yuganskneftegaz, a bill for nearly $1 billion in back taxes.

Critics say the actions against Yukos are the Kremlin's response to the support former Yukos chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky gave the political opposition.

The Kremlin says the probe is part of a battle against corruption.

Mr. Khodorkovsky is currently on trial for tax evasion.