Russia to cut 130,000 military personnel

April 28, 2009 at 4:52 PM
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MOSCOW, April 28 (UPI) -- The Russian Defense Ministry announced in Moscow Tuesday plans to reduce its armed forces personnel to 1 million, cutting 130,000.

RIA Novosti reported one-fifth of senior officers failed military aptitude tests. Deputy Defense Minister Nikolai Pankov said those who failed the tests will be dismissed.

"We are not going to keep officers who are not fit for their positions. The Defense Ministry decided to carry out unplanned tests," he said. "A considerable number of senior officers and non-commissioned officers have proved inept and will be dismissed from the Armed Forces," Pankov said.

He said that the tests so far have been administered to 85 percent of senior officers.

RIA Novosti reported experts believe the measure could negatively affect the army's capabilities. Some say 1 million military personnel are insufficient to safeguard all Russian territory, and that the proposed reforms are unclear and inappropriately financed.

The ministry vowed to provide housing for cut personnel.

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