Putin Recruiting 400,000 More Troops For Ukraine War, Says British Intelligence
Vladimir Putin is preparing to recruit 400,000 more troops to help fight his war against Ukraine, according to British intelligence.
It comes as Russian forces battle to try and take the eastern Ukrainian city of Bakhmut.
According to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD), some could be “coerced” into joining up in an attempt to hit the recruitment target.
In their latest update on the progress of the war, they say Moscow is “presenting the campaign as a drive for volunteer, professional personnel, rather than a new, mandatory mobilisation”.
But the MoD adds: “There is a realistic possibility that in practice this distinction will be blurred, and that regional authorities will try to meet their allocated recruitment targets by coercing men to join up.
“Russian authorities have likely selected a supposedly ‘volunteer model’ to meet their personnel shortfall in order to minimise domestic dissent.”
The MoD say Putin is “highly unlikely” to attract 400,000 genuine volunteers.
But they add: “Rebuilding Russia’s combat power in Ukraine will require more than just personnel; Russia needs more munitions and military equipment supplies than it currently has available.”
Latest Defence Intelligence update on the situation in Ukraine - 30 March 2023.
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— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 30, 2023
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy yesterday warned that defeat in the battle for Bakhmut would enable Russia to start building international support for a deal that would require his nation to make unacceptable compromises.
Zelenskyy said if Bakhmut fell after a protracted battle, Putin would “sell this victory to the West, to his society, to China, to Iran”.
“If he will feel some blood — smell that we are weak — he will push, push, push,” he told the Associated Press.
Zelenskyy has also invited Chinese President Xi Jinping, long aligned to Russia, to visit.