Day 328: Russia to Expand Troops to 1.5M

On Tuesday, following a decree from Russian Pres. Putin, defense minister Sergei Shoigu chaired a meeting with deputies and senior commanders in which he pledged to facilitate Russia's buildup of its armed forces to 1.5M troops by 2026.

Day 328: Russia to Expand Troops to 1.5M
Image credit: I24

Facts

  • On Tuesday, following a decree from Russian Pres. Putin, defense minister Sergei Shoigu chaired a meeting with deputies and senior commanders in which he pledged to facilitate Russia's buildup of its armed forces to 1.5M troops by 2026.
  • In a call with reporters, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the decision was a direct consequence of the West's so-called "proxy war" with Russia. He said: "It stems from the war that the countries of the collective West are waging... which includes indirect involvement in military activities and elements of an economic war, a financial war, legal warfare, steps that go beyond the legal field and so on."
  • The announcement came as 14 NATO surveillance planes were due to arrive in Romania on Tuesday. NATO said the Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS) surveillance planes would only conduct reconnaissance flights over NATO territory, meanwhile, Ukrainian officials announced the renewing of railway traffic to Romania on Tuesday.
  • A day earlier, Putin spoke with Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. According to a Turkish readout of the call, the pair discussed potential prisoner swaps and Ankara's readiness to act as a mediator in potential peace talks.
  • Elsewhere, emergency services in Dnipro completed their searches of the rubble on Tuesday and confirmed that 44 civilians were killed, while 79 more were injured. However, 20 more remain missing after the blast at the residential tower block.
  • Meanwhile, speaking at the Swiss resort of Davos, Andriy Yermak, head of the Ukrainian presidential staff, said 9K civilians had been killed in Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict. On Monday, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reported that it had confirmed the deaths of 7,031 civilians — in territory controlled by both Kyiv and Moscow — but warned that real figures could be "considerably higher."
  • On the ground, Ukrainian officials reported that in Russian attacks in the last 24 hours, two civilians were further killed and one was injured in Donetsk while one civilian was injured in Mykolaiv. Two civilians were reported injured in Kharkiv; shelling was also reported in Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk with no reports of civilian casualties.
  • In Ukrainian attacks, one civilian was injured after shelling was reported in Russia's Belgorod region. Pro-Russia officials also reported that two civilians were killed and three more were injured in Ukrainian shelling of Russian-controlled parts of Kherson; four civilians were also reported killed and four more were injured in Ukrainian attacks on Donetsk.

Sources: TASS, US, Pravda, and Zawya.

Narratives

  • Pro-establishment narrative, as provided by I24. After losses of personnel and territory it had captured, Russia's plan to build up its army to 1.5M soldiers is further acknowledgment from Putin that this war isn't going as expected.
  • Pro-Russia narrative, as provided by TASS. Russia's buildup of troops is a direct consequence of the West's proxy war against Moscow. Had the West not carried out its crusade against Russia, while pumping Ukraine full of weapons and military aid, this situation could have been averted.

Predictions