Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday, January 1, 2023, that Moscow has recruited nearly 120,000 contract soldiers for its army as it tries to replenish ranks weakened by the offensive in Ukraine.
“From January 1 to May 19, 117,400 people were accepted into the ranks of the armed forces and volunteer organizations under the contract,” Medvedev said at a meeting on military recruitment.
The leader, now Russian Security Council No. 2, welcomed the “continuation of work” to increase the size of the army “in the framework of the instructions given by (Vladimir Putin) on this matter”.
The Russian military has suffered heavy losses in Ukraine — albeit kept secret by the military hierarchy — forcing depleted ranks to bail out.
Anticipating a major counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops, Moscow has launched a massive recruitment campaign in recent weeks.
Officials have not announced quantified targets, but some Russian media believe the military is recruiting several hundred thousand men by offering contracts on particularly attractive terms.
The campaign is taking place on social media and many posters promoting the military have appeared on the streets of Russian cities.
Moscow organized the first “partial” mobilization of at least 300,000 men last September, prompting tens of thousands to go abroad and refuse to fight.
By the end of December 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu deemed it “necessary” to increase the size of the Russian army to 1.5 million soldiers – “including 695,000 under contract” – above the 1.15 million set by Vladimir. Putin in August.