The Russian government will "seriously increase" customs duties for lumber,Russian Minister of Industry, Science and Technologies Ilya Klebanov saidat a press conference held within the framework of the Baikal economicforum that is currently taking place in Irkutsk. The minister reported thatthe government had assumed a tough stance on customs duties, and in thenext ten years it was planning to pursue a course that would result inchanging the situation: Russia needs to cease to be a lumber exporter andstart to export deeply processed products. According to Klebanov, his ministry is also developing a concept to updatefacilities. This document is supposed to be prepared by the end of thisyear. The minister was quoted as saying the current wear and tear rate offacilities is 80 percent. Klebanov also pointed out the ministry wascurrently solving the problem of a rather substantial increase in the wagesof scientists in 2003. Additionally, the funds of scientific financing willbe boosted 33-35 percent in the federal budget draft for 2003, the Ministerof Industry, Science and Technologies was quoted as saying. .
A Russian fighter with call sign Rassvet (Sunrise) destroyed an Abrams tank in the area of Avdiivka, the 15th Separate Guards Motorized Rifle Brigade said