Prepare for a long fight, The Kremlin is trying to recruit 400,000 soldiers The hires were made this year, according to people familiar with the planning, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters that are not public.
The ambitious recruitment drive could allow him to avoid another forced mobilization of Kremlin retainers as he intensifies his campaign to re-elect President Vladimir Putin later this year, the people said. Last fall’s call shook public confidence and caused a stir One million Russians were expelled from the country.
Even with the battlefield and political challenges, Putin is confident that Russia will outwit Ukraine’s supporters in the United States and Europe, betting that his forces can prevent another advance by Ukrainian troops in the coming months. Kiev will weaken.
While many in the government and the Kremlin elite question whether Russia can ever win, hardline security service officials remain existential and committed to continuing what they see as a fight. They have Putin’s earPeople said.
Despite efforts by Washington and its allies to isolate him, Putin received strong public support from the Chinese president this month. Xi Jinping, pledged to strengthen ties during a visit to Moscow. Privately, Kremlin officials were upbeat about the visit despite the lack of announced deals, saying Xi’s high-level endorsement was a key sign of support.
China has not publicly committed to providing euthanasia, Russian forces struggled to advance in the face of stiff Ukrainian resistance. Almost all of the 300,000 troops mobilized in the fall are now on the battlefield, according to Ukrainian and Western officials, but Russia has failed to capture any major cities in recent months.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is planning a major counteroffensive In the coming months, Europe and the United States will deploy newly formed troops and newly supplied tanks, armored vehicles and other weapons. According to US officials, Kyiv may now try to break Russian lines and cut a land bridge from the occupied territory that connects Crimea to the Russian mainland.
To replenish and expand its ranks, Russia has already begun a campaign to recruit contract soldiers, who serve up to several years for pay. Regional officials have been assigned recruitment quotas and are calling for volunteers to attend recruitment boards, where they are invited to register, people familiar with the effort said. in the beginning, Authorities target soldiers and villagersThey said.
But some officials said so The target of attracting 400,000 contract soldiers this year is probably unrealistic. This is roughly equal to the number of professional troops Russia had before the invasion was launched on February 24, 2022.
“In the current climate, I don’t think they’re going to attract people to join, except for die-hard patriots or people who don’t have economic opportunities,” said Tara Massicot, a senior policy researcher at Rand. And a former Russian military capabilities analyst at the US Department of Defense said “I don’t see it possible for them to make another breakthrough in Ukraine unless they move toward a war economy and martial law.”
That’s something the Kremlin isn’t ready to do yet, especially ahead of next spring’s elections, when Putin is expected to seek a fifth term, according to people familiar with the situation. Although the Kremlin has a tight grip on the political establishment, officials worry that moves such as mobilization to bring war to millions of Russians could complicate their efforts to win a landslide election victory.
The number of New volunteers are lower this year than in previous years. said Pavel Lucin, an independent Russian military analyst who is a visiting professor at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Defense Minister, Sergei ShoiguRussia said in December it would increase the number of contract troops to 521,000 by the end of 2023, up from 405,000 before the invasion. These troops typically serve three years, and even without the combat losses seen in Ukraine, a steady stream of recruitment is needed to replenish the ranks.
Putin late last year approved a plan to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces from the current 1.15 million to 1.5 million, which is expected to last until 2026.
Shoigu said last September that Russia was at his disposal 25 million reserve holders, He initially invited just over 1% of them.
“They’re running out of armor assets, but they think they have a huge workforce,” Randle Massicot said.
Ukrainian officials see limits to Russia’s ability to continue fighting as it depletes stockpiles of weapons and sanctions limit their ability to replace them.
In an interview with RBC-Ukraine published on Thursday, the deputy head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Vadim Skibitsky, said, “They will be able to carry out this war until 2023, and finally until the end of 2024.
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