Desperate Putin rumbled as last-ditch plot to expand army exposes ‘impotence of Kremlin’

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The Russian President has ordered an increase in the size of his armed forces by decree. The number of army personnel is increasing from 1.9 million to two million from January 2023, with an addition of 137,000 soldiers. Since 2017, the Russian army has had 1.9 million members with 1.01 million soldiers.

Putin is yet to comment on the reasons behind the increase in troops, but reports suggest the army is struggling with the “actual number” of soldiers.

But despite the increase, experts have slammed Putin for Russia’s military failures in Ukraine.

Russian analyst Mark Galeotti said on Twitter that the latest move reveals Kremlin “grappling with impotence and a lack of proper ideas how to change the situation in Ukraine”.

Military expert Dara Massicot added: “Expansion like this is a move you make when strategic forecasts for the future inside the General Staff are gloomy, or you have a longer term conflict or project in mind.”

The decree has also raised questions as to how the number of armed forces is to be increased.

Mr Galeotti explained that an expansion of conscription would be of no use to Putin for the current war, and the defence ministry would need significantly more money to hire adequate specialists in the military.

He claimed the increase could be the beginning of new units for the defence ministry, which is struggling with the number of soldiers.

Russian expert Michael Kofman said he does not believe that the decree automatically means “great mobilisation” in the country.

READ MORE: Putin to refocus on Kharkiv despite ‘fatigued’ army

“Both sides are claiming high death tolls of the adversary. There is no easy way to judge this.”

She then described the southern regions, such as the Black Sea city of Kherson, as “problematic for the Russian forces”, yet they are “still launching attacks along the entire front line”.

Dr Miron explained: “This would suggest that the Russians are still not ready to retreat which would in turn imply that even if the morale is not as high as at the beginning of the conflict, it is still there and the will to fight has not vanished.”

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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