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Russia Denies Plans Of Radical Army Command Reform

Sergei Ivanov (file photo) (epa) 14 December 2005 -- Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov denied plans to radically reform the command of the country's armed forces.

The Moscow-based "Nezavisimaya gazeta" daily on 13 December quoted unidentified Defense Ministry officials as saying the top military leadership was planning a radical reorganization of Russia's army command. The report said the reform envisioned replacing the current four fleets and six military districts with three large regional command centers -- Far Eastern, Central Asian, and West European. It said the changes were planned to start next year and were expected to take several years to implement.

Ivanov, while denying plans to scrap military districts, said he was not against setting up regional command centers. But he said the cost of the operation should be first evaluated carefully.