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DATE=7/15/2000 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=RUSSIA/PUTIN ARMY (L-ONLY) NUMBER=2-264447 BYLINE=EVE CONANT DATELINE=MOSCOW CONTENT= VOICED AT: INTRO: Russian President Vladimir Putin met with the country's top military brass [EDS: high ranking officers] on Saturday and urged them to work together toward reforming Russia's army. V-O-A Moscow correspondent Eve Conant reports the meeting comes amid a publicized quarrel between Russia's armed forces chiefs over a plan to put nuclear missiles under centralized command. TEXT: President Putin met on Saturday with Russia's military and security chiefs and ordered them to work together toward resolving problems of the development of Russia's armed forces ahead of a Russian Security Council meeting later in July. The meeting comes as Russia's defense minister, Igor Sergeyev, and the chief of the General Staff, Anatoly Kvashnin, are engaged in a feud over the fate of Russia's strategic nuclear rocket forces. Earlier this week, Chief of Staff Kvashnin suggested the rocket forces be eliminated as a branch of the military and to have Russia's nuclear missiles brought under centralized command. The suggestion sparked an outcry from Defense Minister Sergeyev, who once served as chief of the rocket forces and supports their independent status. On Friday the usually reserved defense minister publicly called the suggestion a "psychotic attack" and "plain madness." Russia's media has speculated the defense minister could lose his job, especially following a meeting last week with President Putin, where Defense Minister Sergeyev was criticized for military setbacks in Chechnya. The meeting Saturday was attended by Mr. Putin, the two military leaders and the secretary of Russia's Security Council. Presidential press secretary Alexei Gromov says Mr. Putin ordered them to work together to form the "basic aspects of the development of Russia's armed forces to the year 2010." Mr. Gromov added that the Russian president "highlighted the need for work on reform of the armed forces to be carried out thoroughly and from all sides." (Signed) NEB/EC/ALW/JP 15-Jul-2000 08:33 AM EDT (15-Jul-2000 1233 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .