Vladimir Putin blasted by MoD as Russias recruitment drive unlikely to make progress

Europe blasted for ‘fundamental failure’ over Russian invasion of Ukraine

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Russia is planning to increase its army to more than 1.15million as it is trying to recruit 137,000 soldiers. President Vladimir Putin may be trying to replace the estimated 75,000 soldiers killed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Putin even signed a decree during a military recruitment drive to increase the size of the Russian army.

In its current state, the Kremlin has a limit of just over a million military personnel and almost 900,000 civilian staff members.

However, legally conscripted soldiers do not have to serve outside Russia as Moscow has claimed the current conflict in Ukraine is not a war but a “special military operation”.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said the recruitment efforts cannot be achieved unless Russia officially declares war on Ukraine.

The Ministry of Defence said: “The decree is unlikely to make substantive progress towards increasing Russia’s combat power in Ukraine.”

They added that “Russia has lost tens of thousands of troops” during the Ukraine war.

Legally, Russian men aged 18 to 27 may be conscripted to fight.

However, many are able to avoid or reduce their time in the military through higher education or medical exemptions.

Russian officials have not stated a reason for the recruitment drive.

But Western sources have estimated that over 70,000 soldiers have been killed or wounded since the Ukraine invasion began in February.

It has been reported that Russian recruiters have been trying to enlist prisoners by promising freedom and money.

The Institute for the Study of War, which is based in the USA, said Russia has started its drive in central cities, including St Petersburg and Moscow.

The Institute also said the Russian military has focused on recruiting people from ethnic minority groups who are likely to be poorer.

They said: “As the onus of partial mobilisation shifts to more economically advantaged, densely populated and better-educated regions of Russia, domestic opposition to recruitment efforts will likely grow. ”

A large percentage of Russian soldiers killed in the Ukraine invasion come from ethnic minority groups such as Tuva, Buryatia and Dagestan.

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Meanwhile, tensions have risen as artillery has been fired across from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of firing missiles near the plant and ignoring safety protocols.

The power plant is the largest in Europe and the international community has expressed concern over an accident happening if a weapon hits the plant.

Putin has said he will allow United Nation officials to independently inspect the plant to make sure it is sage.

UN officials also claim they are waiting for clearance to visit.

Petro Kotin, from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told the Guardian he hopes the UN visit will “help stabilise the nuclear safety and security situation there”.

On Tuesday, the Zaporizhzhia plant shut down as it was reported fires nearby had affected power lines.

However, officials confirmed yesterday the plant is once again running.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has said that if backup electricity supplies had not worked, the power plant would have become a “radiation accident”.

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