Putin signs decree to increase size of Russian armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million

Monitoring Desk

ISLAMABAD: Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday to increase the size of Russia’s armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million as the war in Ukraine enters its seventh month.

Since the first few weeks of the war, Moscow hasn’t said how many people have died, but Western officials and the Kyiv government say it’s in the thousands.

The number of combat troops will go up by 137,000 to 1.15 million as part of the increase. The government’s legislative portal has a decree that says it goes into effect on January 1.

Putin set the size of the Russian army for the last time in November 2017. At that time, the number of combat personnel was set at 1.01 million out of a total of 1.9 million armed forces members, including those who don’t fight.

Russia hasn’t said how many of its soldiers have died in Ukraine since the first few weeks of the war, when it said 1,351 had died.

Western estimates say the real number could be at least 10 times that, and Ukraine says it has killed or hurt at least 45,000 Russian troops since the conflict, which Moscow calls a special military operation, began on Feb. 24.

Kyiv has also been reluctant to say how many of its soldiers have died in the war. However, the head of Ukraine’s armed forces gave a rare update on Monday, saying that almost 9,000 service members had died.

Putin’s order didn’t say how the number of people was going to go up, but it did tell the government to set aside the money for it.

According to a reliable annual report from the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Russia had 900,000 active service members at the start of this year and two million people in the reserves who had served in the last five years.