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    PRESIDENT PUTIN: RUSSIAN ARMED FORCES TO BE READY TO REPEL ANY THREAT

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    MOSCOW, February 22, 2004. (RIA Novosti correspondent) - The Armed Forces of Russia must be ready to repel any threat, from terrorism to large-scale aggression, Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced.

    "We must be ready to repel any threat, from terrorism and local conflicts to large-scale aggression," he said when speaking at a ceremony in the Kremlin devoted to the Day of Fatherland's Defenders, which Russia celebrates on February 23rd.

    "Our Army and Fleet must conform to modern requirements, must be mobile, really professional and equipped with weapons and machines of a new generation," the Russian leader pointed out.

    At the same time, "the necessary breakthrough is still to be done," he emphasized.

    Although the Russian Army and Fleet still have numerous problems and difficulties, all of them can be solved, the President believes.

    Stable security is the key element for the country's domestic development, he pointed out.

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