The Russian financial reserve is expected to reach 197bn rubles (about$6.23bn) by the end of 2002, Finance Minister Alexey Kudrin announced atthe conference devoted to the main parameters of the 2003 budget draft.Revenues of the 2003 budget were set at about 2.418 trillion rubles (about$77bn), non-interest expenditures at 2.068 trillion rubles ($65bn), primarysurplus at 349.7bn rubles ($11.06bn) and interest expenditures at 638bnrubles ($20.18bn). The draft stipulates that 0.6 percent of the GDP, or72.2bn rubles ($2.28bn), will be spent on foreign debt payments next year.The Finance Minister announced that the defense sector would be a priorityin the 2003 budget. In particular, expenditures for purchasing weapons,scientific research and repairing equipment will be raised by $1bn (about$32bn). Allocations for national defense were budgeted at 346.1bn rubles($10.94bn)..
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.