Putin orders expansion of Russian army

More than a year and a half after the start of the war of aggression against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the size of his army to be increased once again. According to the decree published by the Kremlin on Friday, the number of armed forces will be increased to approximately 1.32 million. This means an increase of 170,000 in the number of contract soldiers and those doing military service. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj announced a draft reform.

Putin has ordered the number of Russian armed forces to be increased to 1.15 million by the summer of 2022 alone. Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense immediately countered public fears that a new wave of mobilization might be planned. “No mobilization was planned,” the official said. Instead, the focus is on Russian citizens who voluntarily join the military.

Russia has been waging war against neighboring Ukraine since February 24, 2022. For a long time, Moscow did not provide any information about deaths and injuries in its own ranks. However, many experts confirm that Russia suffered heavy losses. In the autumn of 2022, Putin ordered a mobilization, resulting in approximately 300,000 men being drafted to the front. This measure caused real panic in some segments of Russian society, and hundreds of thousands of people fled abroad. Since then, many have feared that there could be a second wave of mobilization.

On Friday evening, Zelensky promised the military to reform the bills. “Everyone in Ukraine understands that changes are needed in this area,” Zelensky said in his speech on Telegram. These will therefore affect the conditions for possible demobilization of frontline combatants. Potential new hires should also be the focus of upcoming legislation.

The announcement of the reform is seen as a concession to troops who have been largely deployed on the front lines and have not been relieved since Russia’s war of aggression began nearly 21 months ago. According to Zelensky, the solution to this comprehensive problem must be found by the military leadership and the Ministry of Defense and submitted to the General Staff for approval. The Ukrainian president on Friday mentioned some of the proposals that have already been made. However, he did not provide further details about its contents.

There are currently approximately 820,000 Ukrainians serving in the armed forces. Under the current martial law law, these soldiers cannot be easily discharged. In order for at least some of the conscripts to be sent home temporarily, other soldiers need to be recruited to prevent the front from collapsing. At various demonstrations, soldiers’ relatives called for more rotations to give currently active fighters an opportunity to recover. Speculation has emerged in Kiev in recent weeks about, among other things, a possible change to the 28 age limit for military drafts.

(APA/dpa)

Source: Vienna

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