Russian joint staff describes calls for urgent transfer to contract system as political speculations

Calls by some political forces of the country for immediate and full transfer of the Russian Armed Forces to the contract system are "political speculations", believes first deputy chief of the General Staff, Colonel General Yuri Baluyevsky.

"At a press conference in the Kremlin on Friday Russian President Vladimir Putin made a clear statement on the matter. He confirmed the intention of the country's leadership to conduct the military reform gradually and consistently, taking into account Russia's political, economic, military and social features," Baluyevsky said.

The Interior Ministry and the General Staff are realistic in assessment of the country's economic possibilities in conducting the military reform, he emphasised. "The experience of states which have transferred their armed forces to the contract system shows that budget expenditures in this case rise by two or three times," the general pointed out. Today Russia cannot afford this, he said.

"Thus, we first of all transfer to the contract system instant readiness units and troops serving in hot spots," Baluyevsky explained.

He added that service in hot spots should be carried out by professionals who made this choice consciously and are ready to protect the country's interests in especially dangerous conditions and be rewarded accordingly.

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