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Russia: Air Force To Make Major Personnel Cuts

Moscow/Sochi, 18 June 1997 (RFE/RL) -- The Russian Air Force's Commander-in-Chief announced today that more than a third of Russia's air force personnel will lose their jobs by the year 2001, as major reforms are implemented.

General Pyotr Deinekin told Interfax the cuts will be made gradually and will total some 30,000 people annually. Deinekin said the air force will not be alone in having to trim jobs. He noted that all branches of the Russian armed forces will be equally affected by the reform drive. President Boris Yeltsin is demanding that Russia's military, whose size is variously estimated at between 1.5 to 1.8 million men, be cut to 1.2 million.

Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev met with Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin today to discuss the reforms in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.