April 06, 2022

Russia Is Recruiting Mercenaries and Syrians to Ukraine, Western Officials Say

Featuring Michael Kofman

Source: The New York Times

Journalists Eric Schmitt, Julian E. Barnes, Helene Cooper

As Russian troops retreat from northern Ukraine and focus operations on the country’s east and south, the Kremlin is struggling to scrape together enough combat-ready reinforcements to conduct a new phase of the war, according to American and other Western military and intelligence officials.

Moscow initially sent 75 percent of its main ground combat forces into the war in February, Pentagon officials said. But much of that army of more than 150,000 troops is now a spent force, after suffering logistics problems, flagging morale and devastating casualties inflicted by stiffer-than-expected Ukrainian resistance, military and intelligence officials say.

...

Mr. Putin recently signed a decree calling up 134,000 conscripts. It will take months to train the recruits, though Moscow could opt to rush them straight to the front lines with little or no instruction, officials said.

“Russia is short on troops and is looking to get manpower where they can,” said Michael Kofman, the director of Russian studies at C.N.A., a research institute in Arlington, Va. “They are not well placed for a prolonged war against Ukraine.”

Read the full story and more from The New York Times.

Authors

  • Michael Kofman

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Transatlantic Security Program

    Michael Kofman serves as a Senior Research Scientist at the Center for Naval Analyses' Russia Studies Program, and a Fellow at the Kennan Institute, Woodrow Wilson Internation...