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UK Defense Ministry: Russia aims to recruit 400,000 contract service personnel in 2024

by Kateryna Hodunova April 10, 2024 2:40 PM 2 min read
Russian army conscripts attend a ceremony on May 23, 2023. (Olga Maltseva/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia will seek to recruit an additional 400,000 contract service personnel in 2024 to sustain its forces in Ukraine after severe losses in the all-out war, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry's intelligence report from April 10.

This step also aims to support Russia's plans to increase the size of its forces to 1.32 million personnel this year and 1.5 million subsequently, the report read.

Ukraine's military intelligence said earlier that Russia is likely to ramp up its mobilization efforts after Russian President Vladimir Putin secures his fifth term in office in March.

President Volodymyr Zelensky said that Russia was planning to mobilize an additional 300,000 soldiers by June 1, later clarifying that this number may not be the "final" draft.

As Russia continues its conscription campaign, around 150,000 soldiers aged 18-30 will be conscripted this spring, which is consistent with the numbers conscripted previously, according to the U.K. Defense Ministry.

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War Notes

Newly recruited soldiers will serve for 12 months in all branches of Russia's Armed Forces. The U.K. Defense Ministry said they are not currently appointed to conduct combat missions in Ukraine.

Conscripts are employed in garrisons across Russia, and they generally form battalions separate from the battalions staffed by contract soldiers. Some of the conscripts are likely to serve near Ukraine's state border in units providing border security, the report said.

According to the U.K. Defense Ministry's assessment, Russian troops in Ukraine are staffed with contract soldiers and some reservists mobilized in late 2022. The conscript soldiers commonly face pressure to sign contracts and become liable to serve in Ukraine, however.

"There is likely some reluctance among Russian authorities to risk combat casualties among conscript soldiers, which would likely be unpopular," the U.K. Defense Ministry's intelligence said.

"Casualties among volunteer soldiers are more tolerated by society."

Zelensky signs several laws on mobilization, making younger men eligible for draft
President Volodymyr Zelensky signed three laws introducing changes to mobilization, according to the website of Ukraine’s parliament on April 2.
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