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Russia is stepping up its campaign to recruit foreigners in neighboring countries and exploited migrant workers for its war against Ukraine to avoid domestic mobilization before its presidential election in 2024, the U.K. Defense Ministry wrote on Sept. 3.
According to the U.K. Defense Ministry, military recruitment advertisements have appeared online since late June with target audiences in Armenia and Kazakhstan. The advertisements offer 495,000 rubles ($5,140) in initial payments and salaries starting from 190,000 rubles ($1,973).
Russia has also been attempting to recruit ethnic Russians living in Kazakhstan's Kostanay region, the ministry added.
Additionally, Russia has been exploiting migrant workers with offers to "fast-track citizenship" if they fight in Ukraine since at least May, offering salaries of up to $4,160.
Uzbek migrant workers sent to Russian-occupied Mariupol have reportedly had their passports confiscated upon arrival and are pressured to join the Russian military and fight against Ukraine.
The U.K. Defense Ministry wrote that there are at least six million Central Asian migrants currently in Russia, "which the Kremlin likely sees as potential recruits."
The push to recruit foreigners from neighboring countries and exploit migrant workers "allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties" and "avoid further unpopular domestic mobilization measures in the run-up to the 2024 presidential elections," the ministry added.