Ukraine war: Russia announces plan to expand military, create new units
Russia's military chief cited NATO's plans to incorporate Finland and Sweden as a factor in the buildup. Here is a glance at Moscow's military plans.
Russia on Wednesday announced an ambitious plan to beef up its military from 1 million to 1.5 million and create multiple new units, an attempt to bolster the forces that have lost momentum and many soldiers in the war in Ukraine.
Russia’s military chief cited NATO’s plans to incorporate Finland and Sweden as a factor in the buildup. Here is a glance at Moscow’s military plans.
A push for a bigger force
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu declared Wednesday that the country needs a force of 1.5 million “to guarantee the fulfillment of tasks to ensure Russia’s security.” He did not say when the military will reach that size.
The Russian military currently has about 1 million soldiers, compared with China’s force of 2 million and the U.S. force of about 1.4 million. India also has more than 1.4 million soldiers.
The Kremlin previously considered the size of its military as sufficient, but the calculus changed after hopes for a quick victory over its neighbor were shattered by fierce Ukrainian resistance.
Amid the war, Russia and Ukraine both have kept a tight lid of secrecy on their military casualties. The Russian military last reported its combat losses in September, when it said 5,937 troops were killed, but the West had much higher estimates. Earlier this week, U.K. Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said 100,000 Russian troops were dead, wounded or had deserted since the invasion began.
In August, Putin ordered an increase in the size of the Russian military to 1.15 million starting on Jan. 1. And in September, he ordered the mobilization of 300,000 reservists to beef up his forces in Ukraine. That number is counted as part of the military’s current strength.