Russia is struggling to find more soldiers to fight in Ukraine, even going so far as to exploit prisons, and many new recruits are older, in poor condition and lack training, a senior US official said on Monday. defense.
The official noted Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree last Thursday to increase the country’s military strength by about 10% to 1.15 million troops, starting in January next year.
After suffering significant setbacks and heavy troop casualties in the six months after invading Ukraine, the Pentagon believes “this effort is unlikely to succeed, as Russia has historically failed to meet its security goals. personal and forceful,” the official said.
“Russia has already started trying to expand its recruiting efforts,” the official told reporters on condition of anonymity.
“They did this partly by eliminating the upper age limit for new recruits, and also by recruiting prisoners,” the official said.
“Many of these new recruits were observed to be older, unfit and poorly trained,” the official said.
The Pentagon’s conclusion is that any new recruits added may not effectively expand overall combat power by the end of the year, the official said.
Even before the war, Russia’s armed forces were perhaps 150,000 men short of their stated goal of one million, the official said.
In early August, US Undersecretary of Defense Colin Kahl estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 Russians had been killed or injured in Ukraine since the February 24 invasion.
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