Putin’s decree promising to increase military recruitment could be just hot air: Last Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin responded to his army’s ongoing struggle to increase its control over Ukraine’s southeastern regions by signing a decree that promised to increase the size of his army by 137,000 soldiers.
The order did not specify how it planned to accomplish this, but it did appear to confirm reports that Russia has lost a substantial number of troops killed or wounded since the start of the Ukraine invasion, roughly 80,000 according to the latest Pentagon estimates.
However, if British officials are to be believed, the decree could just be hot air. Without a clear plan, Putin’s decree may have set an impossible task for officials in his government to accomplish.
UK officials say decree unlikely to make significant progress: analysis
In a daily intelligence update released on Sunday, the UK Defense Ministry expressed skepticism about President Putin’s decree, describing Putin’s plans to increase the size of his military as “unclear.”
“On August 25, 2022, the Russian Presidential Administration issued a presidential decree increasing the established strength of the Russian armed forces to 1,150,628, an increase of almost 140,000,” the update saysadding that the Russian government had been instructed to provide funds to achieve the increase.
The update then described Putin’s plans as “unclear,” speculating that Putin might be planning to recruit more “contract” volunteer soldiers, or increase annual targets for conscription.
In any case, in accordance with current legislation, the decree is unlikely to make substantial progress towards increasing Russia’s combat power in Ukraine,” British intelligence officials continued, noting Russia’s loss of tens of thousands of troops, the few new military recruits currently being recruited, and the fact that conscripts are technically not required to serve. outside Russian territory without undergoing four months of training.
If that last point becomes a stumbling block for the Kremlin, there is no reason to say that Putin will not declare Ukraine Russian territory, which already seems to be the purpose of the war, to force those troops to serve. However, this is pure speculation, and a simpler solution for the Kremlin would be to find a way for those troops to receive the necessary training, and potentially find a way to speed up that training so troops can be deployed before the end of the year. .
Russian troops fear return due to possible deployment in Ukraine
As Putin prepares to increase the size of his army, likely to improve his chances in Ukraine, Russian troops already serving abroad fear returning home because of the likelihood that they will be sent to Ukraine.
As many as 1,000 Russian soldiers are currently serving in Kazakhstan, and reports this weekend revealed that Russian military personnel in the country fear returning home over the likelihood of being deployed to serve in a conflict that carries a more significant risk of death. .
Jack Buckby is a British author, anti-extremism researcher and journalist based in New York. Reporting from the UK, Europe and the US, he works to analyze and understand radicalization from the left and right, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these issues and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.