Vladimir Putin: Reliable protection remains Russia's top priority

A rise in global tensions requires a better national security strategy, said President Vladimir Putin.

"We must take account of the changes in the situation not only along the perimeter of our borders, but also in other regions of the planet, I mean the Middle East and the so-called 'arc of instability' in North Africa, as well as Afghanistan," Putin said at a meeting with senior officers on the occasion of their appointment to higher-ranking posts and awarding of high military titles.

Russia's reliable protection remains "an absolute priority," he said.

"We are modernizing our armed forces, optimizing their command, doing a lot to re-equip them," Putin said.

A significant even will be the entry in service of the Yuri Dolgoruky submarine, the first Borei Project missile carrier, in the Russian Navy, he said.

In three years new-generation weapons and equipment will account for 30%, in five years 70%, and for certain models up to 100%, Putin said.

"We shall pay particular attention to consolidating our officer corpus, introducing modern techniques of training the command staff, and of course training and educating soldiers remains a crucial task," the president said.

One of the key areas of modernization is switching to modern standards for army draft and service on a contractual basis, he said. By 2017, the number of professional soldiers and sergeants should increase to 425,000, he said.

"These people will be provided with a generous social package and pay and will have advantages when enrolling in universities and public service," Putin said.

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