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Russia's Black Sea Fleet to swap Ukrainian conscripts for Crimean natives

April 01, 2014, 17:53 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Conscripts from Crimea and Sevastopol will not be drafted this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu says

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© ITAR-TASS/Alexei Pavlishak

MOSCOW, April 01. /ITAR-TASS/. Ukrainian conscripts serving in Crimea will be sent back to their homeland, while Crimea's natives at Ukrainian army and Navy units will be returned to the peninsula to serve in the Russian army and the Black Sea Fleet, in compliance with agreement between the Defense Ministries of Russia and Ukraine, a source at Russia's General Staff told ITAR-TASS.

The Ukrainian troops in Crimea serving under contract who decided to serve in the Russian army, will continue their military service on the peninsula after completing the necessary formalities such as performance re-evaluation, receiving Russian citizenship and signing a new contract, the source said, noting that they would be a reinforcement for the 230,000 professionals already serving in the Russian army.

Conscripts from Crimea and Sevastopol will not be drafted this year, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Monday. The first army call-up will take place in 2015, after the two new Russian Federation members bring their registration and enlistment system in line with Russian legislation and Russian Defense Ministry's regulations. Supposedly, Crimean natives will only serve on the peninsula until the end of 2016. Subsequently, Crimean conscripts might be sent to any part of Russia.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree, 154,000 Russian citizens aged 18 to 27, will be conscripted from April 1 through July 15.

The press service of the Russian Defense Ministry reported that 49,700 specialists would serve in the army this year making up 32.5% of all conscripts. Of those, 46,800 were trained in military professions at schools, clubs or centers run by the Voluntary Association for Assistance to Army, Air Force and Navy.


Selecting conscripts

Head of the Russian General Staff's organization and mobilization department Lt-Gen Vasily Tonkoshkurov noted that the Ministry would pay close attention to the selection of conscripts. Compared with previous years, their health has somewhat improved, but some 30% of the young generation are still declared unfit for military service. The mostly suffer from diseases of locomotor system and digestive tract and mental disorders.

Tonkoshkurov noted that the Russian army was increasing the number of troops serving under contact. "Given the army re-equipment plans, our target is to increase the number of contract servicemen to 500,000 by 2021," he said.

The current conscription will be closely monitored by the public. "We'll continue the practice of conscripts' being accompanied by public organizations' representatives from home to military units," the General went on.


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