The government of Russia will soon submit to the State Duma (the lower chamber of parliament) of Russia amendments on changing the budget of 2001, Vice-Premier Alexei Kudrin told journalists on Friday after attending a State Duma meeting of the coordinating council of four centrist factions. Alexei Kudrin stressed that the financing of a number of budget items would be increased at the expense of saving financial resources on other budget items. The Vice-Premier noted that it would be possible to set aside additional wage appropriations, army reform monies, POL (petroleum, oil and lubricants) appropriations to regions. The border control infrastructure will be enhanced; this is especially true of Russia's southern rims. Moreover, additional financial resources will be spent on leasing aircraft, Kudrin said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced the termination of diplomatic relations with NATO at a time when US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin ended a meeting in Georgia with his counterpart