Russia and Ukraine have stepped up recruitment to shore up their eroding forces, a sign that both sides are preparing for a long war.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on March 30 signed a decree authorizing large-scale spring recruitment, with the goal of mobilizing about 147,000 men, about 10% more than the target of the recruitment. spring 2022.
Although Russian officials say the recruits will not be sent to the battlefield immediately, the decree is supposed to create a larger reserve force for the Russian military, which has already suffered heavy casualties. after more than a year of conflict.
The Ukrainian army is also trying to replenish its ranks. Ukraine says it has received more than 35,000 applications to join a newly formed force – the Assault Guard. In recent weeks, Ukraine has announced plans to create a network of combat brigades operating under the Ministry of the Interior along with the regular armed forces.
The moves to add troops by Russia and Ukraine, among other signals, suggest that both nations, along with their backers, are consolidating forces for the protracted war. Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on March 31 that Belarus’s call for an immediate ceasefire in Ukraine would not affect Russia’s military campaign.
More and more Western arms shipments are being shipped to Ukraine, as Kyiv officials announce they will soon launch a counter-offensive to regain lost territories in the east and south.
Russia has recently found it difficult to control territories in eastern Ukraine. As a result, Western analysts still debate whether the Russian military, after suffering heavy casualties, is capable of launching another attack or responding to a Ukrainian attack.
Neither Ukraine nor Russia has disclosed casualties after more than a year of fighting, but Western officials and analysts say both sides have suffered heavy casualties. American officials estimate about 200,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded since the military operation began in February last year, while Ukrainian casualties are estimated at 100,000.
Recent weeks of fierce fighting in eastern Ukraine, especially in cities like Bakhmut and Avdiivka, have cost Ukraine a large number of troops, including some of its most experienced fighters.
US officials said last month that at one point, hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers were injured or killed every day. Since the outbreak of the conflict, the Ukrainian government has encouraged people from all walks of life to join the army to fill its ranks, while the Russian force has gathered a variety of sources including contract soldiers, conscripts, and conscripts. service, a private military organization.
Bloomberg cites unconfirmed sources as saying that, in preparation for protracted hostilities, “Russia is looking to sign up about 400,000 contract troops this year, to supplement the force that is carrying out the military operation.” peculiarity in Ukraine”.
According to the source, this recruitment plan will allow Moscow to avoid another mandatory mobilization of the reserve force after recruiting 300,000 reservists last fall. However, Russian officials have repeatedly denied speculation about a new wave of mobilization.
The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has so far shown no sign of abating. Both sides are said to be preparing for a new attack or counterattack this spring or summer.