Withdrawal of Russian peace-keepers from the Balkans will be completed by 1 August, according to the schedule.
Lieutenant-General Valery Yevnevich, deputy commander of land forces reported to RIA Novosti on the phone from Kosovo that withdrawal of servicemen and equipment was carried out in strict observance of the plan approved by the Supreme commander and the Russian defence ministry.
The commander reminded that the first special train with military equipment and personnel left Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 June. In total three trains will depart from the country to Russia with the interval of four days, the last one leaving the territory of this Balkan country on June 13. Yevnevich indicated that as far as the withdrawal of Russian military personnel from Kosovo was concerned the first special train would depart on June 17 and the last one on July 24.
The deputy commander described provision of assistance to organise withdrawal of the Russian military contingent from the Balkans as the major objective of his arrival first to Bosnia and Herzegovina and then to Kosovo. According to the RIA Novosti's interlocutor, all issues concerning closure and transfer of Russian peace-keepers' facilities and responsibility areas to servicemen of international peace-keeping forces were agreed and resolved. The General added that they agreed routes and obtained authorisation for the trains to pass through a number of states on the way to their destinations in Russia.
Yevnevich was confident that there would be no problems regarding the future fate of the servicemen who would arrive into Russia. Officers will be dispatched to their service locations. As far as the contract servicemen are concerned, then part of them will continue serving in the Armed forces and part will be retired. The General opines that "there should be no problems in this respect."
The remarks from the Pope came as "a very strong step towards degradation," "given the rather massive nature of homosexuality" among the Catholic clergy.