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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Moves to End Public Military Squabbles

President Vladimir Putin told his Security Council on Friday he wanted to draw a line under a damaging dispute over military reforms that could change the face of Russia’s armed forces and nuclear arsenal.

After the meeting, which Interfax said lasted four hours and ended after 9 p.m., senior officials were quoted as saying that Putin had made a "balanced decision."

News agencies quoted Security Council head Sergei Ivanov and Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev as making the comments after the talks in the Kremlin. They gave few details.

Ivanov said the proposals would be presented to the president for signature over the next few days.

"I have been rather patient with regard to the discussions inside the defense establishment and in general," Interfax quoted Putin as saying at the start of the meeting.

"That’s okay. But today we must draw a line under this discussion and take a balanced decision and draft a plan to bring it about."

On Thursday, a Defense Ministry source said the Kremlin’s Security Council — which has an advisory but influential role — was likely to urge President Putin to cut land-based nuclear missiles and merge the rest of the Strategic Missile Force responsible for them with the air force, as in the United States.

That would be part of a much larger restructuring of the armed forces and could involve cuts in troop numbers from 1.2 million to 900,000.

The aim is to cut costs and divert savings to conventional forces.

The proposals, if Putin backs them, would be a lop-sided compromise in a surprisingly public conflict between Sergeyev and the chief of General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin.

In his opening remarks, Putin did not say what form the changes would take but he said they had to be properly funded.

"Otherwise they will be carried out just as the military reforms have been in the past 10 years," he said.

But Putin said it would be wrong to build up a vast arsenal of weapons.

He said that had been one reason for the collapse of the Soviet Union and that many of those weapons were now in enemy hands, being used against federal troops in Chechnya.