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RUSSIAN SAYS CHECHNYA 80% CONTROLLED

Russia's commander in Chechnya said Wednesday that nearly all of the breakaway republic is now under Russian control but insisted he is under no pressure to end the conflict before President Clinton visits next month.

Speaking after the fall Tuesday of the last rebel stronghold in the Chechen lowlands, Col. Gen. Anatoly Kulikov said Russia controls 80 percent of Chechnya."Given the fact that we are in control of most parts of the territory, we can say the bulk of the outlawed armed formations in Chechnya have been destroyed," Kulikov told a news conference after Russian forces seized the village of Bamut.

Kulikov said only 7,000 supporters of rebel leader Dzhokhar Dudayev remain in Chechnya, and just 3,000 are militarily trained and equipped.

"I think Dudayev does not have the social or economic base to continue fighting," Kulikov said.

Kulikov said he was under no pressure to end the war before Clinton and other Western leaders arrive May 9 to commemorate Victory Day, marking the end of World War II.