Yevgeni Bolkhovitin, the head of the North Caucasian Regional Department of the Russian Frontier Service, has stated that Russian border guards will not allow Chechen separatists to break-through from Chechnya. Speaking with journalists at a press conference in Stavropol, the General has acknowledged that this mission is "not that simple." He said that a part of duties previously fulfilled by the withdrawing Defence Ministry units would be transferred to border guards. According to the General, last year, the most difficult situation was on the administrative borders of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia. In late 2001, it aggravated in Karachai-Circassia, Kabardino-Balkaria and in the Southern part of the Krasnodar region along the Abkhaz sector of the Russo-Georgian border. On this sector, Russian servicemen prevented the penetration of a gang under the command of Ruslan Gelayev. The Russian commander also stated that the whole perimeter of the North Caucasian sector of the Russian state border had been reinforced. In particular, approximately some 100 new border checkpoints had been set up. Bolkhovitin also stated that last year there were arrested over 6,000 border transgressors and violators of border regime, over 100 persons suspected of involvement in illegal armed formations. 100 pieces of small arms, 19.3 tons of explosives, many rounds of ammunition and 6.67 kg of various drugs were confiscated.
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