Four Russian border guards have been killed and another ten injured in Chechnya since the beginning of the anti-terrorist operation there, a Federal Border Guard Service official has said. Over that time, border guards engaged in fighting five times, and 75 times they were subjected to fire and armed attacks. Border guards thwarted four attempts by rebels to cross the Russian-Georgian border, destroyed two main camps and two strong points of rebels, 56 dug-outs with large amounts of armaments and munitions, and turned over to the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry 100 people suspected of participation in unlawful armed groups. Speaking of the general situation in the North Caucasus, the official said that "over the last five years Russian border guards engaged in 200 clashes with armed groups and thwarted 600 attempts to cross the Russian border, losing 31 servicemen killed and 91 injured." Commenting on the situation on the Tajik-Afghan border, which is guarded by a Russian border guard force, the official said that over the last four years the border guards have seized nine tons of drugs, mostly heroin. "Despite the counter-terrorism operation in Afghanistan, drug-trafficking barons of the warring sides continue engaging in their criminal business," he said.
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.