The main task of federal troops in Chechnya remains to catch and destroy heads of bandit groups, said Federal Security Service director Nikolai Patrushev on Monday. According to him, troops are "netting militants and filtrating them". "Members of illegal armed formations not tainted with blood should return to civilian life and those who committed crimes must be tried," the FSB director emphasised. He pointed out that when special operations are conducted in Chechnya "we are guided by one main criterion - to reduce to a minimum losses among federal troops and the republic's civilians". Patrushev also said that "after an anti-terrorist campaign was launched in Afghanistan less criticism has been leveled at us by western partners and there is now an understanding of what federal forces are doing in Chechnya".
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea