Eastern Europe

Russia Announces Military Expansion Initiative – 1.5 Million Troops By Next Year

Sergey Shoigu and Vladimir Putin

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On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced a plan, supported by Russian President Vladimir Putin, to increase Russian military troops to 1.5 million by next year.

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While Russia had roughly 1 million soldiers in its army at the beginning of the year, additional troops were needed to “guarantee the fulfillment of tasks to ensure Russia’s security,” according to Shoigu.

If Putin approves the initiative and Shoigu is able to find the troops, the initiative would increase Russia’s armed forces size by over 30%.

Shoigu used Sweden and Finland’s applications to NATO to justify the move saying that if the two countries join the global alliance, then Russia will have to deploy “the corresponding group of forces.”

While Putin and top Russian officials have made it known that Russia doesn’t consider Sweden and Finland joining NATO as big of a threat as Ukraine joining the organization, they have said that the Kremlin would respond to any expansion of NATO or NATO buildup in the region.

While Russia does not see Finland as much of a threat, the two countries do share an 800-mile border and it is anticipated that Putin will move Russian troops to reinforce the border if NATO’s application to NATO is accepted.

Despite not having any additional threats to its security, this is not the first increase of troops for Russia’s military. In September, Putin mobilized 300,000 soldiers for the war in Ukraine, where Russia has been reinforcing the frontlines.

While another mobilization of troops is certainly possible, Russian leaders have indicated that the current number of troops is sufficient to meet the country’s needs.

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