Some 130bn rubles ($4.2bn) are necessary to man units of the Russian Armed Forces with voluntary enlistees, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Ivanov declared at a news conference today. According to him, by June 1, 2003 proposals concerning the financial aspects of these reforms will be worked out and submitted to the President in order to include them in the 2004 budget.
The minister pointed out that in the period from 2004 to 2007 some 209 units (176,000 servicemen) will be manned with voluntary enlistees. In particular, these are 79 army units, 7 Marine units, 5 airborne divisions, 83 units of the Federal Border Service, 5 units of the interior troops and 28 units of the railroad troops. Ivanov stressed that these were units of constant combat readiness.