Moscow recruits volunteers who are “old, in poor condition and poorly trained”.

The Russian military is struggling to recruit soldiers for the conflict in Ukraine, turning to prisons and volunteers who are “old, in poor condition and poorly trained,” a US Defense Department source said on Monday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered last week to increase the Russian armed forces by 10%, or about 137,000 soldiers, by January 2023.

For US Defense (Pentagon), “This effort is unlikely to succeed.”

A Pentagon official, speaking on condition of anonymity, emphasized to reporters that the Russian military has historically struggled to meet its recruitment goals.

Before the invasion of Ukraine, the U.S. estimates that Russian military strength in February 2022 will be 150,000 short of the target of one million men.

Since then, Russia has attempted to send professional soldiers forward instead of conscription, but the conflict has been costly in terms of human and material resources.

“Russia has already created at least one battalion of volunteers per district and started building the Third Army Corps. They did this by removing the age limit for new recruits and enlisting prisoners,” the same source stressed.

“We can see that many of these new recruits were old, in poor condition and poorly trained. All this means that the new recruits that Russia can attract by the end of the year will not increase the country’s combat power,” he added.

After failing to capture Kiev early in the conflict, Russian forces have concentrated in eastern and southern Ukraine in recent months, where frontline forces have moved little in recent weeks.

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So far, the Kremlin has avoided moving toward a general mobilization, which many Russians fear.

The military offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine on February 24 has already displaced nearly 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced people and nearly seven million to neighboring countries – according to the latest UN data, which ranks this refugee crisis. Worst in Europe since World War II (1939-1945).

The Russian invasion – justified by Russian President Vladimir Putin as the need to “denazify” and militarize Ukraine for Russia’s security – was condemned by the generality of the international community, which responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing sanctions on Russia. Across sectors from banking to energy and sports.

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