More than 100,000 people have enlisted in the Russian army this year, former president Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday, as Moscow seeks to recruit volunteers for its offensive in Ukraine.
Moscow has conducted an aggressive military recruitment campaign in recent months as Kyiv gears up for an offensive after months of stalemate in eastern Ukraine.
“Between January 1 and May 19, 117,400 people have been accepted into the ranks of the armed forces on a contractual basis and as part of our voluntary formations,” Medvedev said.
Mededev, who is now deputy chairman of the Kremlin’s Security Council, said Russian officials were continuing to recruit soldiers on contract.
In September, President Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” military mobilization — Russia’s first since World War II — sending shock waves across the country and prompting tens of thousands to flee.
Unwilling to announce a second mobilization drive, Moscow has instead opted for a massive PR campaign, hoping to lure Russians with financial incentives.
Authorities have not disclosed their targets but various estimates say Moscow could be trying to recruit 400,000 volunteers.
Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in December it was necessary to increase the number of combat personnel to 1.5 million.
Russian authorities have not disclosed the current losses but in September the defense ministry said nearly 6,000 Russian troops had died in Ukraine.
According to Western estimates, around 150,000 Russian soldiers and around 150,000 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed and wounded.