Russia's plan to get 400,000 more volunteer fighters won't work, so they will have to coerce people, UK intel says
Russia is reportedly preparing to sign up 400,000 additional soldiers.
The UK MOD said Russia wants it to appear like people volunteered, to minimize domestic anger.
But it will likely struggle to get enough people, and authorities may have to coerce them, it said.
Russia's plan to get 400,000 more people to volunteer for its military likely won't succeed, and authorities may have to coerce people into signing up, according to UK intelligence.
The UK Ministry of Defence noted in an intelligence update on Thursday that Russian authorities are reported to be preparing to enlist 400,000 new contract soldiers.
This comes at a time when it's losing significant manpower in Ukraine.
But the UK MOD said it is very unlikely that many Russians will choose to sign up, so authorities will end up coercing them instead.
"Russia is presenting the campaign as a drive for volunteer, professional personnel, rather than a new, mandatory mobilisation," it said.
But "it is highly unlikely that the campaign will attract 400,000 genuine volunteers."
The MOD added that Russia would want it to appear like people volunteered "in order to minimise domestic dissent."
"There is a realistic possibility that in practice this distinction will be blurred, and that regional authorities will try to meet their allocated recruitment targets by coercing men to join up," it said.
Russian news outlets reported that the defense ministry plans to recruit another 400,000 contract soldiers this year, Insider's Matthew Loh previously reported.
The drive is expected to start on April 1, and regional governments have already been told what quotas they are expected to meet, Radio Free Europe reported.
The UK MOD said that adding new troops would not fix Russia's struggles in Ukraine.
It said that "rebuilding Russia's combat power in Ukraine will require more than just personnel; Russia needs more munitions and military equipment supplies than it currently has available."
The expected recruitment drive would be the second mass mobilization that Russia has undertaken since it launched its invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Russia declared a "partial mobilization" of 300,000 reservists in September.
That mobilzation resulted in tens, if not hundreds of thousands of Russians fleeing the country to avoid being drafted.
At the time, only existing military reservists were supposed to be called up, but the Kremlin later admitted that it made "errors" in selecting people, after reports of those with disabilities or no military experience being called up came to light.
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