Putin calls up troops who haven't served for 10 years to replace heavy losses in Ukraine

10 April 2022, 09:32

Putin wants to throw in troops who haven't served for a decade
Putin wants to throw in troops who haven't served for a decade. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Russia is trying to bring back soldiers who haven't served in the military for a decade as they seek to replace heavy losses, Britain's Ministry of Defence [MoD] has said.

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Veterans who have been discharged from the armed forces since 2012 are to be thrown into Vladimir Putin's bloody war, which is thought to have claimed thousands of his own troops' lives.

And the MoD said the Kremlin's military is trying to recruit soldiers from Transnistria, which is not a part of Russia. It is a breakaway region of Moldova that borders Ukraine.

Such moves show the desperation of Putin's regime and the woeful invasion plan.

Having failed to swoop in on Kyiv and being forced into a humiliating retreat, Russia is now focused on the east and south of Ukraine, allowing it to concentrate forces there.

But it is unclear how capable those withdrawn forces would be if they are redeployed elsewhere in Ukraine, given their physical losses and reported morale issues.

The MoD's latest assessment, on Sunday, of Russia's situation lays out the problems Moscow is facing.

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"In response to mounting losses, the Russian armed forces seek to bolster troop numbers with personnel discharged from military service since 2012," it said.

"Efforts to generate more fighting power also include trying to recruit from the unrecognised Transnistria region of Moldova."

Putin was further humiliated when, having had to abandon his plan to encircle the capital, the city was deemed safe enough for Boris Johnson and EU president Ursula von der Leyen to visit Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelenskyy.

Mr Johnson went on a walk around the city with Mr Zelenskyy.

The two appear to enjoy a close relationship, with Mr Zelenskyy thanking the Prime Minister and the UK for dispatching weapons like NLAW anti-tank missiles, which have helped Ukraine resist the invasion.

It appears like a more protracted conflict than the Kremlin envisioned is coming, as it levels the city of Mariupol and causes heavy civilian casualties during its attacks on infrastructure.

Its plan seems to be to link Crimea, the peninsula it seized from Ukraine in 2014, with Russia by land by expanding its grip on the Donbas rebel region and capturing regions along the Black Sea coast.

The UK has pledged to send more weapons to help, including the Harpoon anti-ship missile and heavily armoured patrol vehicles called Mastiff.