EDF colonel: Russia launching major new recruitment campaign

Col. Tarmo Kundla.
Col. Tarmo Kundla. Source: ERR

The Russian Armed Forces are launching a new recruitment campaign which this time will affect big city residents as well. Weather conditions in Ukraine, however, will allow bigger tank maneuvers to get underway within the next couple of weeks, Col. Tarmo Kundla of the Headquarters of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) said Friday.

"A massive recruitment campaign has begun," Kundla said, speaking at the Ministry of Defense's weekly briefing on Friday. "The information campaign is already underway and recruitment points are being opened."

He said that the recruitment wave will be officially announced on April 1, but work on it is already being done.

A significant difference compared with last fall's recruitment, however, is that people are now starting to be called up to serve from Russia's bigger and wealthier cities as well. Previously, men were primarily taken to be sent to fight in Ukraine from the country's peripheral regions and from areas with populations that largely aren't ethnic Russian.

"You could say that the war is about to get much closer to the residents of western parts of Russia," Kundla remarked.

April 1 marks the start of conscription call-ups in Russia as well, which lasts through mid-July. He noted that conscripts cannot be sent to war, however they are utilized in support services near the war zone, and likewise will certainly be pressured to enlist following conscription, allowing for them to be sent to Ukraine.

The colonel likewise drew attention to the fact that the conscription age in Russia has been increased to 30.

"All of this has put enormous pressure on enlistment offices, and that is apparent to us too," he added.

The Russian military needs human resources both to compensate for its losses in Ukraine as well as for the formation of new units," Kundla explained.

Private military companies (PMCs) are continuing their own operations as well. Wagner, for example, has announced it intends to recruit an additional 30,000 fighters.

Regarding the situation in Ukraine, the EDF officer noted that Russian pressure has increased compared with last week and that Russian units have  initiative, but they nonetheless haven't managed to take any new territory from Ukraine.

The biggest battles are still taking place in Bakhmut and Avdiivka.

Weather will soon allow for tanks

"Weather forecasts indicate that warm and dry weather is set to continue, meaning that weather and surface conditions will no longer restrict maneuvers," Kundla said. "And then we may see who takes the initiative and how."

The thaw to follow winter coupled with spring rains have made the ground in Ukraine so soft that heavy equipment including tanks cannot manage the terrain.

Western states have pledged to send as well as already sent Ukraine German Leopard 2 tanks that Ukraine hopes to use to help turn the tide of the war.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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