Lieutenant-General Vladimir Zaritsky, head of Russia's missile and artillery forces, announced on Thursday that federal artillery was hitting in excess of 50% of targets in Chechnya. According to him, the level of shelling has been "considerably reduced" since the main bandit formations have been routed. He had previously stated, when the major gangs were still active in Chechnya, that federal artillery had the main burden of strike operations, hitting up to 70% of the targets. The general explained that other military means, particularly the air force, could not be used to hit militant positions in the rugged terrain, especially in the dark and difficult weather conditions. Zaritsky said that artillery was being used selectively, while federal troops were now attaching greater significance to search and reconnaissance missions.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea