According to intel obtained from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense, Russia is planning to ramp up its recruitment campaign of military “volunteers” to be done outside the Russian capital of Moscow.

According to the report, the campaign is an effort to replace manpower lost during the Russo-Ukrainian war that began in late February. Moscow allegedly intends to form new units with a preference for volunteers who have previous military experience.

News of the reinvigorated Russian efforts came as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky claimed in an address that over 23,000 Russian soldiers have died because of fighting in Ukraine. The Ukrainian president also claimed that Moscow was bolstering recruitment efforts to make up for their losses on the battlefield.

“The occupiers are accumulating additional forces for new attacks against our military in the east of the country,” Zelensky said.

“We know that the Russian command is preparing for new big losses. In those units, the personnel of which was almost completely destroyed or significantly weakened in March-April, new people are being recruited. With little motivation. With little combat experience.”

Figures on the total number of Russian casualties vary depending on the source, but estimates hover around the thousands to the tens of thousands. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry added that the leaders of the Russian army have set out clear “recruitment standards” for the campaign.

Russian artillery units of MSTA-Bs destroyed by Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU StratCom). Source:
Russian artillery units of MSTA-Bs destroyed by Ukrainian Armed Forces (AFU StratCom/Twitter)

The report says that a minimum quota of 200 volunteers from each federal district must be met each week except for Moscow. The campaign intends to use “traditional Russian narratives” regarding the West and Ukraine and the promise of increased benefits to incentivize the volunteers. While that may seem enticing to a few, it has become a joke in the SOFREP team room3 that the only place the Russian military is saving money is on retirement benefits for its senior officers.

The ministry did not disclose how the information on Russian recruitment was obtained, nor did they expound on why Moscow, Russia’s most populated city, was excluded from the campaign.