Medvedev calls for increase in number of contract soldiers

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged on Tuesday an increase in the number of contract servicemen in the country’s armed forces.

The Kremlin has vowed to ultimately scrap conscription and move to a largely professional army.

Speaking at a meeting with military officials near the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, Medvedev warned however of the financial challenges the move would entail.

“We can’t attract contract servicemen without creating some elementary conditions for them,” the president said.

The Russian army plans to cut army manpower from 1.2 million to 1 million by 2016.

More than half of Russians want compulsory military service for young men scrapped, according to the country’s leading pollster, the Levada Center.

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