Vladimir Putin is holding a conference in the Defense Ministry devoted, according to him, to discussing "urgent current problems connected with ensuring the country's military security." As was pointed out by the President, it is necessary to revise the content of conceptual and program documents in the defense sphere with the aim of making them conform to the political and military situation in the world today." He believes that it is necessary to once more determine the priorities of the military development. Vladimir Putin remarked that not all aims set in these documents had been achieved, and not because of the lack of financing only, but because of "the content of the programs themselves." The President drew attention to the problems of "financing the national defense." On the one hand, he said, the money arrives more rhythmically now than earlier, but problems remain in the equipment of the Armed Forces with modern weapo! ! ns and materiel. "The re-equipment of the army calls for money outlays," noted the President. "And we must find this money." As to the social aspect of the military reform, pointed out the President, the money allocated to increase the finance allowance and privileges for servicemen is not sufficient in the opinion of the economic experts of the Defense Ministry. The President said that he had instructed the Finance Ministry to provide for an increase in these expenditures. This Monday the government submitted the appropriate proposal to the State Duma (lower house of parliament). The President also underscored that it is not permissible to lower the level of combat training. "Otherwise, he said, we shall have the army where everybody knows everything but cannot war." The President noted that the average flying time of pilots or the presence of sailors at sea constitutes now only ten percent of the required number of hours. The chosen path towards increasing the qualitative indices in the Armed Forces costs a lot, said the President. But to follow the path of quantitative changes "is much more expensive and less effective," Vladimir Putin emphasized.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea
President Vladimir Putin has not released an official statement yet about his position on the issue of the pension reform in Russia