Russian Ground Forces to have 100,000 contract soldiers by 2008
05/04/2007 16:40 MOSCOW, April 5 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian Ground Forces will enlist more than 100,000 soldiers and NCOs on a contract basis by the end of 2007, an aide to the forces' commander-in-chief said Thursday.
In line with current military reforms, more than 60 permanent-readiness units of the Ground Forces have already been manned with contract personnel.
"This year, another 10 units of the Ground Forces will make the transition to contract-based enlistment," Colonel Igor Konoshenkov said. "As a result, more than 100,000 soldiers and sergeants will serve in the Ground Forces on a contract basis by the end of 2007."
Russian Ground Forces are deployed in all six military districts of the country and total, according to some estimates, about 400,000 personnel.
The Defense Ministry said recently that the Armed Forces have been downsized to a current level of 1,134,000 personnel, and that Russia would continue gradual strength reductions to achieve a level of 1,000,000 by 2010.
Former Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in January that a large part of the Russian Armed Forces will still be manned by conscripts in the future, and that only units on constant combat readiness will be fully manned by contract servicemen.
Army General Alexei Maslov, the Ground Forces commander-in-chief, said in March that his troops would continue playing a dominant role in possible local and regional conflicts, as the threat that they could escalate into full-blown war still existed in the modern world.
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