Putin signs a decree to increase the size of the Russian armed forces

FILE PHOTO – Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a televised meeting with officials to discuss wildfires at a residence outside Moscow, Russia August 24, 2022. Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via REUTERS

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Aug 25 (Reuters) – Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday signed a decree increasing the size of Russia’s armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million as the war in Ukraine enters its seventh month.

Moscow has revealed no casualties in the conflict since its first weeks, but Western officials and the Kyiv government say they number in the thousands.

The increase includes a 137,000 increase in the number of fighters to 1.15 million. It comes into force on January 1, according to the decree published on the government’s legislative portal.

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The last time Putin set the size of the Russian military was in November 2017, when the number of fighters was set at 1.01 million out of a total armed forces strength, including non-combatants. of 1.9 million.

Russia did not say how many casualties it has suffered in Ukraine since the first weeks of the campaign, when it said 1,351 of its soldiers had been killed.

Western estimates say the real number could be at least 10 times higher, while Ukraine says it has killed or injured at least 45,000 Russian troops since the conflict – which Moscow calls a special military operation – began on February 24.

Kyiv has also been reluctant to release information on the number of its soldiers who died in the war, but on Monday the head of Ukraine’s armed forces said nearly 9,000 servicemen had been killed in a rare update. Read more

Putin’s decree did not specify how the increase in personnel was to be carried out but instructed the government to allocate the corresponding budget.

According to an authoritative annual report by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia had 900,000 active military personnel at the start of this year and reserves of 2 million in service over the past five years.

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Reuters reporting; edited by John Stonestreet and Angus MacSwan

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