Putin Orders Russian Military to Beef Up Its Forces

President decree takes effect Jan. 1
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Aug 25, 2022 10:04 AM CDT
Putin Orders Russian Military to Beef Up Its Forces
Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022.   (Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP)

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday ordered the Russian military to increase its number of soldiers by 137,000 to a total of 1.15 million servicemen amid Moscow’s military action in Ukraine. That's a roughly 10% increase in combat personnel, notes NBC News. Putin’s decree, which takes effect on Jan. 1, didn’t specify whether the military will beef up its ranks by drafting a bigger number of conscripts, increasing the number of volunteer soldiers, or using a combination of both, reports the AP. The decree does not provide a reason for the increase.

All Russian men aged 18-27 must serve one year in the military, but a large share avoid the draft for health reasons or deferments granted to university students. The share of men who avoid the draft is particularly big in Moscow and other major cities. The Russian military rounds up draftees twice a year, starting April 1 and Oct. 1. In recent years, the Kremlin has emphasized increasing the share of volunteer contract soldiers as it sought to modernize the army and improve its readiness.

Before the Kremlin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Russian military had over 400,000 contract soldiers, including about 147,000 in the ground forces. The number of conscripts has been estimated at around 270,000, and officers and non-commissioned officers have accounted for the rest. Military observers have noted that if the campaign in Ukraine drags on, those numbers could be clearly insufficient to sustain the operations in Ukraine, which has declared a goal of forming a 1 million-strong military.

(More Vladimir Putin stories.)

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