Russia detailed plans Tuesday to expand its military to 1.5 million personnel over the next few years, a move that comes as Ukraine warns that Moscow may be planning an offensive and increased tensions between Moscow and the United States and its allies.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu announced the troop increase, which is expected to be complete by 2026, according to Russian state news agency, TASS.
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Russia will also create military districts in Moscow and St. Petersburg, and an army corps will be created in the Republic of Karelia along Russia’s border with Finland, The Wall Street Journal reported. In addition, Moscow will set up “self-sufficient” units in Russian-held territories of Ukraine, Shoigu said.
“Only by strengthening the key structural components of the Armed Forces is it possible to guarantee the military security of the state and protect new entities and critical facilities of the Russian Federation,” Shoigu said, according to Reuters.
The announcement comes as Moscow faces setbacks on the battlefield in neighboring Ukraine. Since its 2022 invasion, Russia has been bogged down in Ukraine’s east despite some territorial gains.
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Russia’s military has around 1 million troops.
The Kremlin previously considered the size of its armed forces as sufficient, but that changed after hopes for a quick victory over its neighbor were shattered by a fierce Ukrainian resistance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.