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Russia Makes Military Cuts

Russia is making significant cuts in its military installations abroad, including closing its radar stations in Cuba and Vietnam, a top military official said Wednesday.

Gen. Anatoly Kvashnin, chief of the Russian armed forces General Staff, told reporters after a meeting of military brass chaired by President Vladimir Putin that Russia would dismantle its radar stations in Lourdes, Cuba, and Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.

He said that the closure of the station in Cuba alone would allow Russia to save at least $200 million a year in rent and salaries.

Putin visited the electronic spying facility in Lourdes in December. He told the station's personnel that their mission was very important for his government's decision-making.

The U.S. Congress voted in May 2000 to restrict financial aid to Russia unless it closed the Lourdes facility. The outpost has helped Russia verify U.S. compliance with arms-control agreements, according to Russian and U.S. officials.

In June, Vietnam's Foreign Ministry confirmed that Russia had decided not to extend its lease for the naval base at Cam Ranh Bay, which has served as Moscow's strategic foothold in the region. The lease was set to expire in 2004.

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