The U.S. government doesn’t think Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent effort to increase the size of his military by more than 130,000 troops will succeed, a senior U.S. Defense official said Monday.
Putin, who last week signed a decree to boost Russia’s combat personnel from 1.9 million to 2.04 million starting next year, is “unlikely to succeed, as Russia has historically not met personnel end strength targets,” the Defense official told reporters.
They added that prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, the country “may have already been 150,000 personnel short of their million personnel goal” and trying to expand recruitment efforts by eliminating the upper age limit for new recruits and recruiting prisoners.
“Many of these new recruits have been observed as older, unfit and ill trained. So what this all suggests to us is that any additional personnel Russia is able to muster by the end of the year may not, in fact, increase overall Russian … combat power,” the official said.
Both Russia and Ukraine have struggled to make significant headway in a war that has come to a near stalemate as it enters its seventh month.
Since the early days of its attack on Ukraine, Russia has not been forthcoming about how many of its service members have died in the conflict, only allowing that 1,351 of its soldiers had been killed.
Western officials, however, estimate that at least 45,000 Russian troops have been killed or wounded.
Ukraine, meanwhile, has also kept guarded its information on how many of its troops have been killed in battle but last week revealed that nearly 9,000 military personnel have died in the war.