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The Independent Online
Columns of Russian men and equipment trundled out of the shattered Chechen capital yesterday as Russian and Chechen commanders sat down for more talks on implementing the ceasefire deal.

With Grozny returning to a semblance of normality after some of the bloodiest fighting for more than a year, jubilant Russian soldiers cheered as they drove out of the city. "We are going home, back to Russia," one said.

The truce is the achievement of Russian security chief Alexander Lebed, whose efforts to find a political settlement appear to have been frozen in Moscow. The pullout, a ceasefire and joint Russian-Chechen military patrols in Grozny are key elements of the agreement. Rebel fighters are clearly in control of the city. Kiosks have opened up again and the range of goods on offer is rising. In one street, a woman said she was going to visit friends. "It seems like we can smell peace. People are already starting to visit each other," she said. Reuter - Grozny