Vladimir Putin has announced the withdrawal of two Russian military facilities from Vietnam and Cuba, reports the RIA Novosti correspondent. Summing up today's conference at the Russian Defense Ministry, President Putin said that the decision had been taken to withdraw the Russian military contingent from the Cam Ranh base in Vietnam. The Defense Ministry was instructed to start implementing that decision beginning with January 1, 2002. Apart from that, said the President, the decision was taken on the withdrawal of the Russian electronic surveillance center in Lourdes, Cuba. Anatoly Kvashnin, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, told journalists after the conference that the money saved from the withdrawal of the two Russian military facilities could be used for providing the Armed Forces with modern military equipment. According to the general, the rent of the radar center in Cuba amounts to about 200 million dollars a year. This money could be used for the purchase of 20 reconnaissance and information satellites, as well as about 100 modern radar stations. The money laid out on the Cam Ranh base in Vietnam could be compared with the maintenance of a modern nuclear-powered submarine, noted Kvashnin. The general said that the withdrawal of the mentioned military facilities will not affect Russia's defense potential.
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