Russian President Dmitry Medvedev urged on Monday an increase in the number of contract servicemen in the country`s armed forces, according to RIA Novosti.

The Kremlin has vowed to ultimately scrap conscription and move to a largely professional army.

Speaking at a meeting with military officials near the Urals city of Chelyabinsk, Medvedev warned however of the financial challenges the move would entail.

"We can`t attract contract servicemen without creating some elementary conditions for them," the president said.

The Russian army plans to cut army manpower from 1.2 million to 1 million by 2016.

More than half of Russians want compulsory military service for young men scrapped, according to the country`s leading pollster, the Levada Center.