The Kremlin ordered the sending of another 400,000 to the army Russians
Russian authorities are launching a massive recruitment campaign to replenish depleted forces in Ukraine, which have lost more than 200,000 dead and wounded according to Western figures.
The Kremlin has assigned the task of recruiting 400,000 contract soldiers to the Armed Forces and has sent the relevant orders to the regions, Bloomberg reports, citing sources familiar with the situation.
According to them, with such recruitment, the authorities hope to avoid a second forced mobilization, the first wave of which abandoned support for the war and caused an exodus of citizens abroad.
Almost all mobilized – 300 thousand. people – have already been thrown to the Ukrainian front, according to Bloomberg sources among Ukrainian and Western officials. And although the generals used all possible reserves, the widely announced offensive ended in a fiasco: from January 31 to February 28, the army managed to move only 234 square kilometers, or 0.039% of Ukraine’s territory.
Throwing the army into minefields and attacking with “human waves” in the style of World War II commanders, the Russian generals were unable to take a single Ukrainian city and only set new records of losses.
Meanwhile, Kiev is awaiting the arrival of Western tanks and weapons, with which it plans a counter-offensive in the coming months. Its likely goal would be to cut off the Russian army from the land bridge to Crimea.
Many in the government and the Kremlin doubt Russia’s ability to succeed in a prolonged bloody war, Bloomberg sources say. But President Vladimir Putin, the sources point out, is still under the influence of the power lobby, which calls what is happening an existential struggle for the country’s existence.
The goal of the recruitment campaign is to keep the number of troops in Ukraine at least constant, according to Bloomberg sources. According to them, the authorities are afraid of carrying out a second wave of mobilization on the eve of the presidential elections scheduled for 2024, in which Putin will be elected for a fifth term.
For now, regions are recruiting mostly veterans and rural residents. At the same time, many officials doubt whether the ambitious plan – 400 thousand. people – is basically doable.
The Russian military has exhausted military resources, but “they believe they have huge reserves of manpower,” says Rand Corp analyst Dara Massicot.
He considers the Kremlin’s plan unrealistic: only “beaten patriots” or the poorest will join the army. But even with them, the General Staff is unlikely to be able to advance to the front, says Massicot, “Unless they introduce laws of war and switch to a war economy.”