In its September 3 intelligence update, the British Defense Ministry highlights Russia’s recruitment of foreign nationals, offering payments and fast-track citizenship for fighting in Ukraine.
The ministry tweeted:
- As of late June 2023, Russia has been appealing to citizens of neighbouring countries with recruitment adverts for individuals to fight in Ukraine. Online adverts have been observed in Armenia and Kazakhstan offering 495,000 roubles ($5,140 USD) in initial payments and salaries from 190,000 roubles ($1,973 USD). There have been recruitment efforts in Kazakhstan’s northern Qostanai region, appealing to the ethnic Russian population.
- Since at least May 2023, Russia has approached central Asian migrants to fight in Ukraine with promises of fast-track citizenship and salaries of up to $4,160 USD. Uzbek migrant builders in Mariupol have reportedly had their passports confiscated upon arrival and been coerced to join the Russian military. There are at least six million migrants from Central Asia in Russia, which the Kremlin likely sees as potential recruits.
- Russia likely wishes to avoid further unpopular domestic mobilisation measures in the run up to the 2024 Presidential elections. Exploiting foreign nationals allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties.
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