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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Military housing program should be extended - defense minister

RIA Novosti

30/01/2007 14:18 MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's defense minister called Tuesday for a housing program for servicemen to be extended until 2010, and introduced in a greater number of regions.

The so-called "15+15" program initiated by the Russian president stipulates the allocation of 30 billion rubles (about $1.1 billion) in 2006 and 2007 to build housing for military personnel in five regions in which the housing cost is particularly high.

So far, the five targeted locations are Moscow and the Moscow Region, St. Petersburg and the Leningrad Region, and Russia's Baltic exclave, the Kaliningrad Region.

"We would like to use this positive experience in other regions," Sergei Ivanov, who is also deputy prime minister, said, adding that housing for servicemen is also an urgent issue in the Volga area and in the country's Far East.

Ivanov said about 68,500 servicemen and their families are in desperate need of affordable new housing, and the extended program could help resolve this problem.

A senior housing official at the Defense Ministry said the ministry had already sent proposals to expand and prolong the program to the Finance Ministry and the Economics Development Ministry.

"The rate of housing construction for military personnel in 2006 leads us to believe that we will resolve this issue by 2010," Anatoly Grebenyuk said.

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