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Putin Urges Police to Monitor North Caucasus Situation

The situation in the North Caucasus should be constantly monitored by the Interior Ministry, President Vladimir Putin said Sunday as he congratulated ministry staff on their professional holiday.

"Stability in the region is not easy to restore," Putin said at a gala evening dedicated to Police Day that Russia marks on November 10. "We pay a high price for that, but we have no other way."

He said that officers should work to place "a reliable barrier" in the way of "extremists and radicals who are trying to destabilize the situation, split our society."

Putin urged the police to stop "any displays of xenophobia, nationalism, and religious feud" and "act toughly against so-called ethnic crime groups."

Attacks in the North Caucasus on security forces, police and civilians generated by ethnic, religious and political rivalries, as well as poverty and corruption, occur on a regular basis.

The violence is fed in part by an Islamist insurgency stemming from separatist struggles in the republic of Chechnya.

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