Moscow, 30 June 1997 (RFE/RL) - Presidential spokesman Sergei Yastrzhembsky says Russian President Boris Yeltsin has appointed several new top military commanders.
Yeltsin appointed Colonel General Vladimir Yakovlev as commander of the Strategic Missile Forces. He succeeds Igor Sergeyev, who was named the new Russian defense minister last month.
The president also made Lieutenant General Vladimir Isakov a deputy defense minister in charge of the military rear services, placed Colonel General Grigory Kasperovich in charge of the Siberian Military District and appointed General Ilya Panin the chief of the armed forces' personnel department.
Yeltsin has said that Russia's 1.7 million armed forces will be cut to 1.2 million by the beginning of 1999 and pledged to improve their training and equipment.