Putin demands rapid expansion of Russian army after repeated crushing blows in Ukraine war


The decree brings the overall number of Russian military personnel to about 2.2 million.

George Bunn

By George Bunn

Published: 04/12/2023

- 11:16

The decree made by the Kremlin came into effect immedietly

Vladimir Putin has demanded an expansion to the Russian military.

The Russian president has demanded the armed forced increase the number of troops by nearly 170,000 to a total of 1.32 million.

It comes as the Russian invasion of Ukraine enters its 22nd month.

The decree was released by the Kremlin at the end of last week and took force immediately.

Ukrainian ruins

​The Russian invasion has caused devastation in Ukraine


The decree brings the overall number of Russian military personnel to about 2.2 million, including 1.32 million troops.

It is the second such expansion of the army since 2018.

The defence ministry said the order doesn’t imply any "significant expansion of conscription."

The ministry cited what it called “the special military operation” in Ukraine and the expansion of Nato as the reasons for the increase.


​It is expected about Russian military personnel 2.2 million


The previous boost by 137,000 troops, ordered by Putin in August 2022, put the military’s numbers at about 2 million personnel and about 1.15 million troops.

Last December, Russia’s defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, declared that the country needed a force of 1.5 million “to guarantee the fulfilment of tasks to ensure Russia’s security”. He did not say when the military would reach that size.

The ministry of defence said that boosting Russian troops was an appropriate response to "the aggressive activities of the Nato bloc."

Hopes for a quick Russian victory over its neighbour were shattered by Ukrainian resistance.

All Russian men aged 18 to 27 must serve one year in the military, but a large share avoid the draft for health reasons or deferments granted to university students.

The share of men who avoid the draft is particularly large in Moscow and other major cities.

This year, the authorities raised the upper age limit for mandatory service to 30, starting from January 1.

The authorities insist that those conscripted for mandatory service are not being deployed to Ukraine.

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