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Russia to boost 2007 arms spending by 30 pct-report

Written by: Staff
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MOSCOW, Nov 20 (Reuters) Russia will increase arms spending by 30 percent in 2007 to 734.6 billion roubles a senior official was quoted as saying today.

''In 2007, state defence orders will increase by 30 per cent compared to 2006,'' said Vyacheslav Putilin, deputy head of the military industrial commission, Interfax news agency reported.

''The first major part of the defence orders ... will go on the development, purchase and repair of arms and military technology,'' he said, without giving more details.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov is head of the military industrial commission, which overseas all state arms purchases.

Ivanov is seen by some as a possible heir to President Vladimir Putin, who must step down in 2008 after two terms in office.

Defence spending has soared under Putin, who says the military forces need investment to face new threats after the fall of the Soviet Union.

Analysts are watching closely to see which ministers can secure large amounts of budget funds ahead of the 2008 presidential elections.

REUTERS DKS PM0040

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