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Medvedev calls for increase in number of contract soldiers

© RIA Novosti . Dmitry Astachov / Go to the photo bankRussian President Dmitry Medvedev urged on Monday an increase in the number of contract servicemen in the country's armed forces.
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged on Monday an increase in the number of contract servicemen in the country's armed forces. - Sputnik International
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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged on Tuesday an increase in the number of contract servicemen in the country's armed forces.

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 military plans to cut army manpower from 1.2 million to 1 million by 2016. There are currently 180,000 contract servicemen. The number is due to increase to some 450,000 by 2017.

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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