Russia to recruit foreigners in neighboring countries to beef up its army depleted by 300,000 war casualties, says the UK Defense Ministry

  • Russia is outsourcing military recruitment to “avoid unpopular domestic mobilization measures,” says UK MoD.

  • The Kremlin wants to fill the growing gaps in army ranks foreigners and migrant workers.

  • Russia’s military casualties are approaching 300,000, say US officials.

Russia is avoiding domestic mobilization by recruiting more foreigners and migrant workers for the war against Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defence wrote on September 3.

The campaign to exploit migrant workers and enlist men from neighboring countries precedes Russia’s upcoming presidential election in 2024.

This move “allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties” and “avoid further unpopular domestic mobilization measures in the run-up to the 2024 presidential elections,” according to the Ministry.

Russia’s military casualties are approaching 300,000, of which as many as 120,000 are deaths and up to 180,000 are injuries, US officials said last month.

High payments, offers of a fast track to Russian citizenship

Russian military

A military cadet stands in front of a billboard promoting contract army service in Saint Petersburg on October 5, 2022.OLGA MALTSEVA/AFP via Getty Images

Russian military recruitment advertisements have been targeting Armenian and Kazakhstani — mainly ethnic Russians from the Kostanay region — audiences since late June. The ads offer down payments of s495,000 rubles ($5,140) and starting salaries of 190,000 rubles ($1,973).

Migrant workers’ statuses are being leveraged. They are being offered “fast-track citizenship” if they join the fight in Ukraine, with salaries of up to $4,160 on the cards.

Some migrants are being taken advantage of, with Uzbek workers reportedly having their passports confiscated in Russian-occupied Mariupol and being pressured to join the military and fight against Ukraine.

According to the UK MoD, there are upwards of six million Central Asian migrants in Russia, all of whom are “potential recruits” in the Kremlin’s eyes.


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