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Major structural changes announced in the Russian army show the leadership's intention to prepare for a drawn-out conventional confrontation, the U.K. Defense Ministry reported on Jan. 22 in its daily intelligence update.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Jan. 17 said the changes are to be implemented between 2023 and 2026, including an increase to 1.5 million military personnel.
“Shoigu’s plans signal that the Russian leadership highly likely assesses that an enhanced conventional military threat will endure for many years beyond the current Ukraine war. However, Russia will highly likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion,” the U.K. Defense Ministry tweeted.
The move amounts to a “11% military personnel increase on top of the previously announced expansion to 1.35 million,” the ministry said.
Russia mobilized 300,000 troops in September and October to send to Ukraine, and another 200,000 in its regular conscription cycle in November. Ukraine’s military intelligence previously reported that Russia plans to launch a new wave of mobilization of 500,000 conscripts for the war against Ukraine.
Shoigu has also announced plans to form two army corps near the border with Finland as a partial return to the Soviet-era organization of forces in Western Russia.
According to a Jan. 13 Ukrainian military intelligence report, Russia plans to build a 2-million-strong army through consecutive waves of mobilization.
In early December, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin denied that Russia was planning further mobilization, saying that he saw no reason for another round of conscription. But, according to recent reports, the Kremlin has continued mobilization covertly.