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UK Defense Ministry: Russia likely builds 'major new formations' for deployment in Ukraine

by Martin Fornusek August 2, 2023 9:50 AM 2 min read
Russian military personnel arrive to participate in the Victory Day military parade
Russian military personnel arrive to participate in the Victory Day military parade, to be held at Red Square, in central Moscow on May 9, 2023. Russia celebrates the 78th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany during World War II. (Photo by KIRILL KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP via Getty Images)
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Russia has likely started forming major new formations over the last two months to "add depth to its ground forces" in Ukraine, the U.K. Defense Ministry said in its latest intelligence report on Aug. 2.

However, Moscow is unlikely to find enough troops for even one new army without a fresh wave of mandatory mobilization, London believes.

The strategy to build new and self-sufficient formations, such as the 25th Combined Arms Army, is a major shift in Moscow's approach toward using its reserves, the U.K. Defense Ministry commented.

Previously, the Russian military backfilled already established formations or used mobilized reservists as territorial defense infantry regiments. The exception was the 3rd Army Corps created in the summer of 2022, "which has generally performed poorly," the ministry added.

While the new formations will be most likely deployed as reserves in Ukraine, in the long term, the Kremlin seeks to strengthen its forces facing NATO, the analysis said.

The Russian State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament, voted on July 25 to raise the maximum age of conscription from 27 to 30. The U.K. Defense Ministry commented earlier that this highlights Russia's failure to insulate its population from the effects of the war.

Russian dictator Vladimir Putin also signed a bill to gradually increase the upper age limit for reservists, with senior officers liable for mobilization up to the age of 70.

According to Ukraine's military intelligence, Russia has also forcibly mobilized from 55,000 to 60,000 men in the occupied territories of Ukraine since the start of 2022.

Intelligence: Russia has forcibly mobilized up to 60,000 men in occupied territories
Since the beginning of 2022, Russia has forcibly mobilized from 55,000 to 60,000 men in the occupied territories of Ukraine, military intelligence spokesperson Andrii Cherniak said on July 30.
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