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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Proposes a Professional Army for Russia

Acting President Vladimir Putin was quoted Tuesday as saying Russia needed to build a professional army but hinted it would not necessarily abolish conscription.

Putin's comments during a meeting with students at a town outside Moscow were in keeping with his repeated pledges to rebuild the underfunded and ill-equipped armed forces.

Meanwhile, the Kremlin press office denied media reports that Defense Minister Igor Sergeyev would be replaced imminently by parliament member Andrei Nikolayev.

Putin's tough stand against separatists in Chechnya has fueled his consistently high opinion ratings in the run-up to next month's presidential elections.

RIA news agency quoted Putin as telling students in Zelenograd that professional soldiers were needed in those parts of the army involved in particularly dangerous operations.

He reminded the students that Russia had never had a proper professional army.

"It was people rather than the army who fought," he said referring to Russia's wartime history.

He said a two-month training period for reservists was not always the most "effective in terms of military training. But a man should know what the armed forces are, that's a must."