Russian Defence Minister: More Than 200 Units to Serve on Conscription in 2004-2007

More than 200 units of constant combat readiness are to serve on conscription in 2004-2007, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said.

According to Mr. Ivanov, on Thursday, the government adopted a draft federal target program for the conscription of the Russian Armed Forces.

The Russian Defence Minister said that 176.000 privates and non-commissioned officers are to serve on conscription.

Sergei Ivanov specified that in accordance with the target program 91 units /79 Army units, 7 marine units and 5 air-borne divisions/, 83 frontier units, 5 units of Interior Ministry troops, 29 units of railway troops will serve on conscription. "These are constant combat readiness units that show fighting efficiency of the Russian Armed Forces," the Russian defence minister stressed.

Sergei Ivanov said that all constant combat readiness units were to serve on conscription by the end of 2007. "This step will make it possible to achieve the main goal - to have Armed Forces that are able to fight and that will meet the requirements of the 21st century," he said.

Sergei Ivanov added that separate items of the federal target program as well as financial issues are to be improved by July 1, 2003. Then the program will be submitted to the final consideration. It is necessary because "appropriate means are to be envisaged by the 2004 budget," the Russian defence minister pointed out.

Sergei Ivanov said that to implement a program a law package is needed.

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