Russia cuts training courses due to ‘critical shortages’ of manpower and NATO warns this is not the ‘beginning of the end of war’
Russian military academies are shortening training courses and bringing forward graduation dates for cadets so they can be deployed to Ukraine, the UK Ministry of Defense has said.
The latest intelligence update reads: “The Kremlin-linked Russian private military company, the Wagner Group, has been campaigning to recruit Russian convicts for service in Ukraine since at least July.
“Prisoners were offered commutation of their sentence as well as cash incentives.
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“This has been reinvigorated, with a recently released video most likely showing Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin making a recruitment pitch to prisoners.
“In the video, Prigozhin emphasizes that he is only looking for ‘fighters for assault units.’ In addition, Russian military academies are shortening training courses and advancing cadet graduation dates.
“It is almost certainly so that the cadets can be deployed to support the operation in Ukraine.
“The impact of Russia’s labor challenges has become increasingly severe.
“The acceleration of officer cadet training and Wagner’s demand for assault troops suggests that two of the most critical shortages in the military manpower crisis are likely to be combat infantry and junior commanders.”
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday that Ukraine’s counterattack against Russia had been successful.
But he warned we should be ‘prepared for the long haul’ amid Russia’s recruitment drive because it’s not the beginning of the end of the war
Stoltenberg told BBC radio: “It is of course extremely encouraging to see that the Ukrainian armed forces have been able to retake territory and also strike behind Russian lines.”
“At the same time, we have to understand that this is not the beginning of the end of the war, we have to be prepared for the long term.”
Vladimir Putin is also considering a mass national project in Russia to send conscripts to Ukraine where he would declare a full-scale war, but he faces an uphill battle to find conscripts.