Russia aims to recruit 400,000 new contract soldiers – media

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From April 1, Russia will start a new recruitment drive of contract soldiers; for this purpose, the Defense Ministry has sent out orders to the regions indicating the number of people with whom the relevant documents must be signed, RFE/RL reports.

Several regional media outlets have reported that the Ministry of Defense plans to recruit 400,000 contract soldiers. Military commissariats will primarily handle the work, and ultimately, governors will be responsible for achieving the recruitment targets.

According to the plan, Chelyabinsk and Sverdlovsk oblasts will have 10,000 individuals each, while Perm Krai will have 9,000 individuals recruited. In Voronezh, locals receive new military summons, but regional authorities claim it is to update the military registry.

The Russian military recruitment offices are trying to compensate for its losses in specialized soldiers, such as tank drivers and artillerymen, the Vyorstka outlet reported. The Kremlin denies any discussions regarding a second wave of mobilization, according to Dmitry Peskov, the Russian president’s press secretary.

Rumors of a second wave of mobilization in Russia due to a shortage of manpower to continue a full-scale war in Ukraine have been spreading in the media since late 2022. The intelligence services of several Western countries and the Ukrainian authorities, among others, have warned about such events. The Kremlin has denied and continues to deny these plans.

According to official figures, more than 330,000 Russians in the reserve have been called up for military service as part of the “partial mobilization” since last September. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu reported the end of mobilization at the end of October. After that, Putin also announced the end of the draft but did not sign a decree to that effect. Thus, mobilization in Russia officially continues.

In January, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced a target of increasing the Russian troops to 1.5 million within three years. Almost half of them are expected to be contract servicemen. However, the day before, a bill was introduced in the State Duma to raise the age limit for service in the conscription army from 27 to 30 years old.

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