Russia plans to recruit 300,000 contract soldiers to avoid mass conscription

Russian soldiers
Russian soldiers

Russia plans to recruit approximately 300,000 contract soldiers by the end of 2024 to avoid a large-scale draft that might erode domestic support for its military efforts and spur further exodus, Bloomberg reported on April 18.

This strategy includes enticing conscripts with contracts, aiming to mitigate the potential political fallout of a broad mobilization.

Read also: Russians plan to intensify mobilization in occupied Luhansk Oblast – Ukrainian authorities

"The Russian authorities are trying not to carry out a new mobilization, as long as they have the opportunity to avoid it," military expert Pavel Luzin explained.

This spring, 150,000 Russians will be drafted for standard military service. The Russian law permits these conscripts to be deployed to the battlefield after four months of military service, said Luzin. However, that would violate repeated public pledges not to deploy conscripts to the war zone. The army officials are pushing them to switch to a professional contract. Russia could enlist approximately 300,000 people in the army by the end of 2024, Bloomberg said.

An increasing number of draftees are complaining of significant psychological and in some cases physical pressure, said Idite Lesom (Get Lost) — a non-government organization that helps people who want to avoid being sent to fight in Ukraine.

Read also: Russia steps up propaganda efforts to encourage conscription – HUR

"They put one boy into a pit and kept him there for several days without food until he agreed to sign a contract," said the group’s head Grigory Sverdlin.

Russia is using generous financial incentives to attract people to the war. Since the beginning of the year, regional payouts to new contract soldiers have increased by 40% to an average of 470,000 rubles (around $5,000), not including the federal payment of 195,000 rubles ($2,000).

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced plans on Dec. 19, 2023, to expand the nation’s armed forces to 1.5 million personnel with the number of contracted soldiers expected to reach 745,000 individuals.

Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Ivan Havryliuk said on March 18, that after the sham presidential "elections," Putin would hold a new wave of mobilization and intensify attacks on the front.

Ukrainian military intelligence (HUR) also believes that after the "elections" in Russia, conscription may be more openly conducted.

The Southern Defense Forces are confident that Russia will intensify mobilization in the temporarily occupied territories after collecting information about people during the pseudo-elections.

Read also: British intelligence predicts Russia to establish two new armies in 2024, foresees supply challenges

UK intelligence suggested on March 30 that Russia is conscripting about 30,000 new servicemen each month for the war against Ukraine.

Putin signed a decree on March 31 initiating a sprint draft from April 1 to July 15, aiming to mobilize 150,000 soldiers into the army.

Russia is preparing to conscript 300,000 more people by June 1, said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on April 3.

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Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine