Some 28.5 bln rubles of budget expenditures can be economized through optimization in 2004 (34 rubles equal 1 Euro, and 31 rubles equal 1 U.S. dollar), Russian Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin has told journalists. He pointed out that the budget expenditures on national defense can be reduced by 4.3 bln rubles, on agriculture - by 2.7 bln rubles. Spending on education can be cut by 3.5 bln rubles through optimization, expenditures on the news media - by 1,126 bln rubles. Federal budgetary aid to regions can be reduced by 3.4 bln rubles, Kudrin stressed.
According to conclusions by the budget spending optimization commission, budget spending in 2005 can be reduced by 37.5 bln rubles by means of optimization.
Kudrin emphasized that the commission's work outcomes allows to follow "the return on every ruble".
The minister said he would propose to extend the term of commission's activities to carry through the adopted decisions.
Russia may terminate all kinds of military and military-technical relations with Israel, including the agreement on the exchange of reconnaissance data
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea