"There are still plenty of militants in mountainous areas," Maj.-Gen. Nikolai Sivak said, reiterating that, "militants lack arms and ammunition."
The high-ranking military official also said that, "Unfortunately, we did not see a decrease in the number of losses, and this year 17 federal troops were killed as of April 27, against 15 [in the same period] last year."
Last month, a high-ranking military official with the Russian Defense Ministry said that a total of 192 militants and armed gang members were killed and more than 700 arrested in anti-terrorist operations in Russia's North Caucasus in 2007.
Although the active phase of the North Caucasus anti-terrorist campaign officially ended in 2001, periodic bombings and clashes between gunmen and federal troops still disrupt Chechnya and nearby regions, including Daghestan, Ingushetia, Kabardino-Balkaria, and Karachayevo-Circassia.
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The main event of the third day of the 11th meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi was the closing session with President Vladimir Putin. The atmosphere was calm and open, despite the current political tensions and the Russia-West confrontation. The Russian president said that it corresponded to the spirit of the Valdai Club.