Russia on Tuesday presented detailed plans to expand its military to 1.5 million personnel over the next few years, a move that comes as Ukraine warns Moscow is planning an offensive and tensions between Moscow and the United States and their ally increased.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the troop surge, which should be completed by 2026, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.
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Russian self-propelled artillery vehicles, tanks and military vehicles roll along Tverskaya Street towards Red Square during a rehearsal for the Victory Day military parade in Moscow. The Kremlin plans to expand its armed forces to 1.5 million troops by 2026, officials said on Tuesday.
Russia will also create military districts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and an army corps will be created in the Republic of Karelia along the Russia-Finland border, The Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, Moscow will set up “self-sufficient” units in the Russian-occupied areas of Ukraine, Shoigu said.
“Only by strengthening the main structural components of the armed forces, it is possible to ensure the state’s military security and protect new units and critical facilities of the Russian Federation,” Shoigu said, according to Portal.
The announcement comes as Moscow faces setbacks on the battlefield in neighboring Ukraine. Since its invasion in 2022, Russia has been bogged down in eastern Ukraine, despite some territorial gains.
A convoy of pro-Russian troops moves along a road in Mariupol, Ukraine, Thursday, April 21. (Portal/Chingis Kondarov)
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Russia’s military has around 1 million soldiers.
The Kremlin previously thought the size of its forces was adequate, but that changed after hopes of a quick victory over its neighbor were dashed by a bitter Ukrainian resistance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.