Interior Ministry troops and Defense Ministry border guards are first in line to be manned on a contractual basis as opposed to conscription, Yuri Baluyevsky, First Deputy Chief of the General Staff, told a military reform roundtable on Monday. Border guards and Interior Ministry troops are the ones that are most likely to end up in a flashpoint "and we must not allow 17-18-year-old youngsters to such conflicts," Baluyevsky said. He went on to say sergeants would be the first to switch to contract-based service. Baluyevsky noted that 84.9 billion rubles had been earmarked for the implementation of the federal goal-oriented Armed Forces reform program over the next four years (EUR1 = approximately 35 rubles). "What is essential is not only providing living conditions for servicemen in the army, but also providing competent and comprehensive military training for them, which is something that requires money too," the military leader said.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18