On Saturday at a briefing in Rostov-on-Don Gennady Troshev, Commander of the troops of the North-Caucasian military district stated that only those forces and equipment were left in Chechnya which were really required to complete the anti-terrorist operation. He again confirmed the statement of the Defense minister regarding the withdrawal from Chechnya of troops not included into the composition of the district. According to the Commander, "everything which had to be withdrawn was withdrawn in the period from November to December." According to Troshev, personnel of the Moscow, Siberian, Far Eastern military districts were withdrawn from the territory of the Chechen republic. Also withdrawn were long-range artillery units, part of aviation forces and equipment, including front and army aviation. The Commander assured that the amount of remaining troops would be "more than adequate" not only to support Ministry of Interior forces, Interior troops, other special units participating in special operations but to repulse at any time, if necessary".
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.