Force of contract servicemen to reach 240,000 in Russia by year's end - general

Sixty thousand contract servicemen will be hired at the defense ministry's order for the Russian army and navy in 2013, which is 10,000 more than planned, said Col. Gen. Viktor Goremykin, the head of the Defense Ministry's Main Personnel Department.

"This year we plan to bring the number of contract soldiers and sergeants to 240,000. At the Defense Ministry's order we are to recruit 60,000 contract servicemen this year," he said on Ekho Moskvy radio on Saturday.

Goremykin also said that selection of contract servicemen began on September 1 2012. "Sixty-six recruitment centers have been set up all across Russia and we plan to set up more," he said.

The Moscow center is based in the town of Koroloyov near the city. The number of contract servicemen selected by June 1 is at 106% of the plan, he said.

He said soldiers serving by conscription may volunteer for contract service after ten months of service.

"Many want to become contract servicemen and 200,000 volunteers signed up in the first quarter of the year alone," the general said.

"The first contract is signed for three years with a three-months trial period. The contract may be severed if the applicant is physically unfit and unprepared for contact service," he said.

There is a formation in the armed forces comprised exclusively of volunteers, he said.

Thos formation includes the 15th Separate Motorized Infantry Brigade in the Central Military District and the 31st Separate Airborne-Assault Brigade in the Airborne Troops.

The Navy has warships manned exclusively by contract sailors and petty officers," the general said.

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