“The Russian military is facing a serious shortage of personnel in Ukraine,” a US government official told the agency, citing intelligence.
According to him, the Russian military is trying to increase its numbers in Ukraine by returning wounded soldiers to combat more quickly, using people from private security agencies or offering various bonuses to regular service soldiers for signing up for frontline units.
How many Russian soldiers have died in the war in Ukraine so far?
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“In addition, we have credible reports that the Russian Ministry of Defense is likely to begin recruiting convicted criminals in Ukraine,” the US official said, adding that Moscow was offering them “pardons and financial compensation”.
Moscow has not disclosed how many soldiers and other personnel it has lost during the war, which it launched in late February. However, according to Western governments and Kyiv, the losses are in the order of many thousands. In August, US Defense Department Undersecretary Colin Kahl estimated the number of dead and wounded Russian soldiers at 70,000 to 80,000, saying that the real number could be “a little higher or lower.”
At the end of August, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree according to which the number of Russian armed forces is to increase by 137,000 people from 1,013,628 to 1,150,628 as of January 1. Thus, the Russian army can seek to restore forces to maintain the operation in Ukraine.
According to the AP agency, it is not clear whether Russia wants to achieve the increase in the number of soldiers through higher levies of basic service soldiers or by accepting more soldiers on a service contract.
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