(Reuters) – So far this year, some 280,000 people have signed up for professional service in the Russian military, Russia’s Security Council deputy chairman, former president Dmitry Medvedev, said on Sunday.
During a visit to Russia’s Far East, Medvedev said he met with local officials to work on efforts to strengthen the armed forces.
“As of January 1, about 280,000 people have been drafted into the ranks of the armed forces on a contract basis, according to the Defense Ministry,” state news agency TASS quoted Medvedev as saying, including reservists.
Last year, Russia announced a plan to increase its combat personnel by more than 30% to 1.5 million, an ambitious task made even more difficult by heavy but undisclosed losses in Moscow’s war against Ukraine.
Some Russian lawmakers suggested that Russia needs a professional army of seven million to guarantee the country’s security – a move that would require a huge budgetary allowance.
President Vladimir Putin ordered a “partial mobilization” of 300,000 reservists in September 2022, prompting hundreds of thousands more to flee Russia to avoid being sent to battle. Putin has said no further mobilization is needed.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; editing by William Mallard)