More than a year and a half after the start of the aggressive war against Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered another increase in the size of his army. The size of the armed forces is planned to increase to about 1.32 million in the future, according to a decree published by the Kremlin on Friday. This would be a further increase of 170,000 contract soldiers and conscripts after Putin ordered an increase in the size of the Russian military to 1.15 million in the summer of 2022 alone.

Meanwhile, the Russian Ministry of Defense immediately responded to the population’s concerns that a new wave of mobilization could be planned. “No mobilization is planned,” the department said. Instead, the focus is on Russian citizens voluntarily joining the military.

Experts: High losses in the Russian army

Russia has been waging war against neighboring Ukraine since February 24, 2022. For a long time, Moscow itself did not provide any information about the dead and wounded in its ranks. However, many experts note large losses for Russia. Ordered in autumn 2022. Putin then mobilization began, as a result of which about 300 thousand people were called up to the front. This measure caused real panic in some sectors of Russian society, and hundreds of thousands of people fled abroad. Since then, many have feared that there may be a second wave of mobilization.

Fire in Russia’s longest railway tunnel: suspected attack from Ukraine

Meanwhile, the exact causes of the fire in Russia’s longest railway tunnel still remain a mystery. Citing security sources, a number of Ukrainian media reported on Friday that Ukrainian intelligence services SBU successfully carried out sabotage in the 15-kilometer Severomuysk tunnel in the Russian Republic of Buryatia, bordering Mongolia. The attack caused a fire to break out on Thursday evening, which in turn led to the tunnel being blocked. Later, a train carrying fuel wagons was deliberately blown up on a bypass route, reports from Kyiv.

On Thursday, Russian Railways only acknowledged the fact that a tank with diesel fuel had caught fire and announced “slight delays” of trains. However, in Russian Telegram channels there was talk about several destroyed cars. Initially, these claims could not be independently verified.

The Severomuysky tunnel is located on the Baikal-Amur Mainline and is considered especially important for Russia’s trade with China. “Russian intelligence services will have to get used to the fact that our people are everywhere. Even in distant Buryatia,” the Ukrainian Internet portal “Ukrainian Pravda” quotes an interlocutor from unidentified security circles. (AFP/DPA/KGO)

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