Moscow seeks four lakh soldiers to replenish its rankstext_fields
Moscow: Russia is preparing to push back Kyiv's new effort to preserve its independence and territories. The Kremlin is seeking as many as four lakh new soldiers to replenish its ranks. Putin has no plans to pull back from Ukraine but also dialled back plans for a further offensive this spring.
Moscow appears to be preparing for a long fight after failing to gain much ground in recent months. The Russian President is still confident that his troops can outlast Ukraine and its supporters in the West. He also thinks that the backing for Kyiv will weaken.
On the other hand, nearly three lakh Russian soldiers recruited last fall are on the battlefield. But Russia hasn't managed to take any major towns in recent months. Moscow's troops have been struggling to advance against Ukrainian resistance. Kyiv is currently focused on a major counteroffensive in the next few months. Europe is supplying it with training and weapons and tanks. The intention is likely to be to break Russian lines and sever the land bridge of occupied territory linking Crimea to the Russian mainland.
Anonymous sources told Bloomberg News that an ambitious recruiting campaign is underway to avoid another forced mobilisation of reservists. These contract soldiers will serve for up to several years in exchange for money. Regional officials have received quotas for recruiting. Summons for potential volunteers have also gone out. Some officials think the goal of four lakh soldiers is unrealistic. Experts think only die-hard patriots and people out of economic opportunities are the people likely to join. Moscow may have to resort to a wartime economy and martial law. Last year, close to a million Russians fled the country to avoid enlisting in the army.
The Kremlin is also campaigning to get Putin re-elected for a fifth term later this year.
Washington's efforts to isolate Putin have gone to waste. This month, Chinese President Xi Jinping publicly backed Russia and pledged to tighten their alliance by visiting Moscow. While Beijing hasn't publicly committed supply of lethal aid for the invasion, The Kremlin thinks the high-profile endorsement was a sign of support.