The Russian Government has agreed that women may serve in several duties with a war character, said Defence Minister Sergey Ivanov at a press conference on Thursday. However, he said in this case 'women must not differ from men.' Ivanov said that the separate provisions of the federal program will be worked out by June 1, 2003 in order that a draft of programs would be sent for confirmation, and so the budget for 2004 would have sufficient funding. Moreover, an entire package of legislation which will allow for the selection of soldiers on a voluntary basis must be put forward. If the federal program meets its requirements by the end of 2007 then the Defence Ministry and other authorities will be ready to consider the question of limiting the period of service from two to one year, he said. If the program is successful in reaching its goals, then the conscript will spend the first half-year on individual study in the training unit and another half-year will serve in detachments that do not take part in military actions, Ivanov said.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmitry Kuleba believes that "Crimea has already become a" suitcase without a handle” for Russia