The Kremlin recruits fighters in neighboring countries to prevent another mobilization in Russia that affects Putin’s image

Recruitment campaign in St. Petersburg (AP / file)

The authorities of Russia they have encouraged the recruitment of citizens of neighboring countries to fight in Ukraineaccording to British Intelligence, which attributes these efforts to the desire to avoid the political effects of an eventual -and “unpopular”- internal mobilization.

“Russia probably wants to avoid unpopular mobilization measures overlooking the 2024 presidential election″, reads the latest report by British experts, shared by the Ministry of Defence.

“The exploitation of foreign nationals allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties,” the intelligence report explained.

To this end, the Russian authorities have disseminated Internet ads in Armenia and Kazakhstan in which they are offered 495,000 rubles (just over $5,000) as a down payment and a salary of 190,000 rubles (almost $2,000). In the case of Kazakhstan, there have been specific recruitment efforts in the Kostanai region, with appeals to the ethnic Russian population.

FILE - Russian recruits walk to take a train at a railway station in Prudboi, the Volgograd region of Russia, on Sept.  29, 2022. A campaign to replenish Russian troops in Ukraine with more soldiers appears to be underground again, with makeshift recruitment centers popping up in cities and towns, and state institutions posting ads promising cash bonuses and benefits to entice men to sign contracts enabling them to be sent into the battlefield.  (AP Photo, File)
Recruits in Volgograd after last year’s mobilization (AP/file)

In addition, at least since last May, Russia has groped migrants of Asian origin to whom it offers to join the troops in Ukraine in exchange for obtaining citizenship and salaries that can reach 4,160 dollars (more than 3,800 euros). .

British Intelligence has also pointed out that in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, occupied by Russian troops, Uzbek migrants, mainly dedicated to construction, saw their passports confiscated as a measure of pressure to join the fighting.

Only in Russia there are at least six million migrants from Central Asia whom the Kremlin sees as “potential recruits”, the UK authorities have pointed out.

The former Russian president and president of the Security Council, Dmitri Medvedev, declared this Sunday that Moscow had recruited some 280,000 people into the army since the beginning of the year.. “Part of them were on the reserve, part were volunteers and other categories,” he added to the agency. rateduring a visit to the Russian island of Sakhalin, in the Far East.

Campaign in Moscow (Reuters)
Campaign in Moscow (Reuters) (YULIA MOROZOVA /)

Russia has not announced another mobilization, seen as an unpopular move, but has carried out an active campaign to attract more men to the army as its offensive against Ukraine continues into its 19th month. In early August, Medvedev stated that the army had recruited some 230,000 people since the beginning of the year. The figures could not be independently verified.

Since the Russians appear to have limited flexibility in their reserves, even a small Ukrainian advance that cuts a strategic point in the Russian lines could make the Kremlin troops look “very strained”said George Barros, an analyst at the US-based Institute for the Study of War. The researcher also questioned the version that the counteroffensive is not going well: “This campaign is developing in the best possible way, taking into account the support it has received.”

In that sense, Ukrainian Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar urged to measure Ukrainian progress not in kilometers or meters, but “by the very fact that we succeed in advancing in such conditions.”

The Ukrainian army now considers the fighting in the northeast, specifically near the city of Kupiansk in the northern Kharkiv region, and in the forests near Lyman, to be the main Russian offensive.

At the same time, the main Ukrainian offensive operations are centered in the south, where they are advancing towards the shores of the Azov Sea in an apparent attempt to cut off the land corridor to the Crimean peninsula, which Russia seized in 2014. Doing so would divide in two Russian-occupied territory in southern Ukraine, undermining Moscow’s supply lines.

While trying to keep Ukrainian troops busy along the mostly static northeastern front, Russia has also had time to beef up its defenses in the south, including widespread mine-laying, Ukrainian officials said. Deep fortifications have slowed kyiv’s advances in that direction.