Russia is turning to military veterans discharged during the past decade to fill out its ranks, the U.K. Defense Ministry said, after Russian forces encountered losses in the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Russian armed forces are turning to military personnel discharged since 2012 to bolster troop numbers, the U.K. ministry said Sunday. It said recruits are also being sought from Transnistria, a Moscow-backed breakaway region of Moldova.
Russia’s defense ministry didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Western allies and Ukraine have said that Russian forces have suffered high numbers of casualties, depleting their ability to operate. Russia’s defense ministry reported two weeks ago that 1,351 soldiers have been killed—far below estimates of 7,000 to 15,000 from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said last week that Russia has had “significant losses of troops.”
Many Russian battalion tactical groups that withdrew from northern Ukraine in late March were battered so badly by Ukrainian forces that they won’t be able to redeploy anytime soon, Ukrainian and Western officials said.
“We’ve seen indications on some units that are, literally, for all intents and purposes, eradicated,” a senior Pentagon official said. Russia, he said, is trying to mobilize some 60,000 reservists to fill the gap in manpower.