General Anatoli Kvashnin, chief of the General Staff of the Russian Armed Forces, said that Russia "does not wholly abandon call-up to the Army", but service in flashpoints is the job of contract servicemen. In this way the general commented on Wednesday on the governmental resolution regarding stage-by-stage transition of the Russian army to the contract basis, instead of draft. So far, these are only the guidelines of switchover to contract service, said Kvashnin. In the process of preparing them the experience of other armies, including European, was used, said General Kvashnin. According to the chief of the Russian General Staff, putting the army on the contract footing provides at the first stage for the use of contract servicemen in combat-ready units. In order to be implemented this decision "must rely on a dependable social base and sufficient monetary allowances so as to make the contract service attractive", stressed Kvashnin. In addition, a set of social privileges should be prepared to make the service attractive, because in time of peace it is intended for servicemen making up a group of special risks. Kvashnin stressed that the term "professional army" is not quite appropriate. To him, soldiers doing service on draft must also be professionals. "We do not wholly abandon draft. But in peace time the army should not send drafted soldiers and sergeants to flashpoints", General Kvashnin told Russian journalists. In Brussels the chief of the Russian General Staff is participating in the work of the Russia-NATO Permanent Joint Council.
Russian small missile ships - the Grad Sviyazhsk and the Great Ustyug - set off for a mission to the Mediterranean Sea