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Human rights defender warns Russia is expanding its army with recruits from occupied Ukrainian territories

She noted that on 1 April, a new conscription campaign started in occupied Crimea.
russian troops ukraine
Russian troops in Ukraine. Image by Ukrainska Pravda
Human rights defender warns Russia is expanding its army with recruits from occupied Ukrainian territories

Temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, including Crimea, continue to serve Russia as a reserve for increasing the number of individuals mobilized into its armed forces, Olha Skrypnyk, the head of the Crimean Human Rights Group, told UkrInform.

According to Ukraine’s military bloggers, Russia is mobilizing roughly 1000 troops per day on average.

“Russia primarily bolsters its military through territories distant from Moscow, while the occupied regions serve as a reserve for expanding the Russian armed forces,” she remarked.

The human rights activist reminded that on 1 April, another conscription campaign started in temporarily occupied Crimea.

Skrypnyk said that typically, Russia mobilizes up to 3,000 individuals per campaign and 6,000 per year. Thus, during the Russian occupation, at least 48,000 conscripts have been already enlisted in the armed forces.

However, the expert added that most of them have yet to be engaged in combat operations in Ukraine and are not the main focus of mobilization.

Skrypnyk noted that simultaneously, in Crimea, a so-called partial mobilization is underway, which Putin initiated in September 2022.

“This is the most complicated process because it is entirely concealed, making it difficult to track. Russia does not disclose the numbers at all because they are classified as a state secret,” she emphasized.

The human rights defender emphasized the difficulty in determining the number of individuals enlisted in the Russian military within this campaign, as figures vary widely, ranging from 5,000 people to more.

Skrypnyk noted that Russia’s plans to expand its army significantly are not necessarily linked to elections or expectations of a new wave of mobilization.

“They have already officially acknowledged Russia’s state of war and are transitioning to more strategic approaches to warfare. All of this is part of their plan – to destroy Ukraine,” she stressed.

Furthermore, the human rights defender added that in 2023, the Russian army increased by 100,000 military personnel.

Earlier, President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that Russia was preparing to mobilize 300,000 military personnel by 1 June, but this number is not final.

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