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Putin Pledges $646 Billion To Modernize Russia's Army

A Russian recruit carries his newly issued uniform during call-up. (file photo)
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin says the Russian government has pledged 20 trillion rubles ($646 billion) through 2020 to modernize and rearm that country's military.

Russia's armed forces have demanded an increase in spending to modernize its aging infrastructure and weapons systems after years of insufficient funding.

Putin, speaking at the SevMash naval shipyard in the northern town of Severodvinsk, on the White Sea, told government ministers and top military officers that Russia must overcome "the consequences of those years when the army and the navy were seriously underfinanced."

Putin said the modernization program would focus on strategic nuclear forces, air-defense systems, communication, intelligence, a fifth-generation fighter plane, and on the navy.

compiled from Reuters reports