Russia signs 280,000 for contract military service this year -Medvedev

Billboard promoting military service under the contract in Russian Armed Forces, in Leningrad Region

(Reuters) - Some 280,000 people have signed up so far this year for professional service with Russia's military, the deputy chair of the Russian Security Council, former President Dmitry Medvedev, said on Sunday.

Visiting Russia's Far East, Medvedev said he was meeting local officials to work on efforts to beef up the armed forces.

"According to the Ministry of Defence, since Jan. 1, about 280,000 people have been accepted into the ranks of the Armed Forces on a contract basis," including reservists, state news agency TASS quoted Medvedev as saying.

Last year Russia announced a plan to expand its combat personnel more than 30% to 1.5 million, an ambitious task made harder by its heavy but undisclosed casualties in Moscow's war against Ukraine.

Some Russian lawmakers suggested Russia needs a professional army 7-million strong to ensure the country's security - a move that would require a huge budget allowance.

President Vladimir Putin ordered a "partial mobilisation" of 300,000 reservists in September 2022, prompting hundreds of thousands of others to flee Russia to avoid being sent to fight. Putin has said there is no need for any further mobilisation.

(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by William Mallard)