The cancellation of sales tax from January 1, 2004, will bring a loss of USD 720 million to the regional budgets. As a Rosbalt correspondent reports, this was announced by Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin today in the State Duma. He said that 36% of sales tax is taken in Moscow, 10% in the Moscow Region and 8% in Saint Petersburg. The Russian government is planning to set up a special fund with USD 350-500 million to support the regions, which suffer most as a result of tax reforms, Mr Kudrin said. As a result of this, the regions will be able to re-establish their current incomes within the next year or two, said the minister.
Russian officials have repeatedly declared that Israeli aviation poses a threat to the Russian military in Syria.