The Russian military is recruiting civilians from neighboring Kazakhstan to help in its ongoing war with Ukraine, according to a report by Reuters.
Several recruitment ads in the former Soviet republic showed Russian and Kazakh flags with the slogan, “shoulder to shoulder.”
They promise a sign-on bonus of 495,000 Russian rubles ($5,300) and a salary of at least 190,000 Russian rubles ($2,000) per month.
Kazakhs who plan to sign a contract will also enjoy undisclosed extra benefits, according to the ads.
When clicked, the ads lead to a website that says potential recruits might join the Russian Army in the Sakhalin region in Russia’s Far East.
Kazakhstan prohibits its citizens from joining military conflicts abroad for pay.
This is not the first time that the Russian military has recruited or attempted to recruit civilians from other countries.
Residents of other ex-Soviet nations told Reuters that some compatriots had been hired by either the Russian Army or Moscow’s private mercenary groups.
Although recruitment drives often happen inside Russia, hundreds of Uzbeks, Tajiks, and Kyrgyz migrant workers are being targeted.
“A former husband of my sister died in Lysychansk last October,” a Tajik resident told Reuters. “One of my nephews joined the Wagner group after being in a Russian prison.”
Russia’s attempt to entice Kazakhs into joining its fight against Kyiv has been described as a desperate move to increase Moscow’s ground forces.
The Insider said it shows that Russian President Vladimir Putin is struggling with a depleted force.
Last year, a senior US defense official revealed that Moscow was struggling to find more soldiers, even tapping prisoners, to fight in Ukraine.
The Russian military has also begun offering salaries up to 10 times higher than the country’s average to entice civilians to join its ground forces.
“They are trying to use any possible means to recruit people, and they are activating their efforts,” Ukrainian Victims of War board member Yuriy Mukhin said.