A banner promoting joining the Russian army on a Moscow street
Russia and Ukraine
Anticipating a major counterattack from Ukrainian forces, Moscow has launched a massive recruitment drive in recent weeks
Published in: May 20, 2023: 02:22 AM GST
Last updated: May 20, 2023: 02:48 AM GST
Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced on Friday that since January 1, 2023, Moscow has recruited about 120,000 contract soldiers into its army, which is trying to rebuild its ranks, which were weakened by the war in Ukraine.
“From January 1 to May 19, 117,400 people were accepted into the armed forces under contracts and in the framework of volunteer training,” Medvedev said at a meeting on military conscription.
Medvedev, who is currently considered the number two man in the Russian Security Council, welcomed the “continuation of work” to increase the number of the army “within the framework of the instructions issued by (President Vladimir Putin) on the matter.”
The Russian army had suffered heavy losses in Ukraine, which prompted it to renew many of its ranks, despite the fact that the matter was kept secret by the military hierarchy.
Anticipating a major counterattack from Ukrainian forces, Moscow has launched a massive recruitment drive in recent weeks.
A banner promoting joining the Russian army on a street in Leningrad
The authorities have not released specific numbers, but some media have reported that the army hopes to recruit hundreds of thousands of people by offering contracts with attractive terms.
The campaign is taking place on social media, while multiple posters promoting the army have appeared on the streets of Russian cities.
Moscow had organized the first “partial” mobilization of at least 300,000 men last September, causing tens of thousands to flee abroad because of their refusal to go to fight.
At the end of December 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu considered it “necessary” to increase the number of the Russian army to 1.5 million soldiers – “including 695,000 contractors” – more than the target of 1.15 million set by President Vladimir Putin in August.