By Anthony Marcus, special correspondent, for Eurasia Business News, August 25, 2022

The Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree setting the staff of the Russian armed forced in the amount of 2 million 39 thousand 758 servicemen, of which 1,150,628 are military personnel. The number of the latter increased by 137 thousand people.

The decree was published on the official Internet portal of legal information.

The decree provides for establishing “the staff number of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in the amount of 2,039,758 units, including 1,150,628 servicemen.”

The Russian federal government was instructed to provide for the allocation of funds from the budget by the Ministry of Defense.

The new decree comes into force on January 1, 2023.

The last time the size of the Russian army changed was in November 2017. Then the staff was set in the amount of 1,902,758 servicemen, including 1,013,628 military. About 400 thousand accounted for contract soldiers, about 270 thousand – for conscripts, the rest – for officers, reported the editor-in-chief of the magazine “Arsenal of the Fatherland”, retired Reserve Colonel Viktor Murakhovsky.

The increase in military personnel by 137 thousand servicmen should occur at the expense of contract servicemen, said the military expert.

This is explained by the fact that it is necessary to dramatically increase the number of ground forces to participate in the special operation in Ukraine. This will be done, most likely, through the so-called territorial battalions, which are also part of the Russian armed forces“, according to the Reserve Colonel.

The most “attractive offers” to young men are found in Tatarstan, where the Russian army offers to conclude a contract worth 260 thousand rubles / month. Less would be offered in the Saratov region, with 150 thousand rubles / month. In addition, those who takes in the military operation in Ukraine are paid a day of service for three. Taking into account the average salary in Russia, Viktor Murakhovsky believes that there will be a lot of people who want to sign a contract.

At the end of March, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on conscription for military service from April 1 to July 15, with a goal of 134.5 thousand servicemen. At the same time, the Russian Army General Staff ruled out the connection between the spring conscription campaign and the Russian military operation in Ukraine.

The Russian Federal authorities have also repeatedly denied reports of plans to declare military mobilization in the country. The Ministry of Defense claims that only a part of the armed forces participates in military operations in the neighboring country, “the number of which is quite sufficient to perform all the tasks set by the Supreme Commander-in-Chief.

In early morning on February 24, Vladimir Putin announced in a televised address to Russian citizens the launch of a military operation in Ukraine to “protect people of the republics of Donbass who have been subjected to abuse, genocide by the Kiev regime for eight years,” as well as to implement the “demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine.” The two separatist republics of Donbass officially called Russia for help against Ukrainian armed forces the week before.

Read also : How will Russia respond to Western sanctions ?

Ukraine and its Western partners sees the Russian military operation as an invasion and imposed strong strong sanctions against Russian state officials, banks, companies and oligarchs, to put pressure on the Russian government and lead it to a ceasefire and a withdrawal from Ukraine. But after six months of war, the Russian armed forces still control the East and the South of Ukraine and have taken large cities like Kherson, Melitopol and Mariupol.

Ukraine’s armed forces are suffering heavy losses on the past month and are becoming less capable of confronting Russia in the Donbass, said the U.S. defense expert David Axe in an article published on August 25 for Forbes. Around 9,000 Ukrainian troops have died and 20,000 or 30,000 have been wounded since Russian troops entered Ukraine on February 24, claims the Ukrainian commander in chief, the general Valerii Zaluzhnyi.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive on Kherson, announced by Kiev at the end of May, may not take place, since the Ukrainian forces lack of servicemen and heavy equipment to carry it out.

The Kremlin does not release official military casualty figures.

The British Defense Ministry estimated Russia had lost 15,000 servicemen as of May, as a result of the fighting in Ukraine. 

War has also taken civilian lives in six months, while many of them have fled the fighting since February 24, leaving for Poland, Slovakia, Germany, France. Thousands of Russian-speaking civilians of Donbass fled the military operations and went to Russia, where they are granted Russian passports, accomodation and financial help.

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