Russia plans to create new military units amid personnel shortages and potential conscription plans

Russia is planning to established new military units, said Defense Minister Sergei Shoygu, as reported by RBC. "An army corps, a motorized rifle division, the Dnipro River Flotilla, and a flotilla brigade of river boats have been formed," the minister announced.

Shoygu stated that by the end of the year, Russia plans to form two more combined-arms armies and 30 units (with 14 divisions and 16 brigades). "We will continue to refine the combat and numerical content of the Russian army in proportion to the emerging threats to the country's military security," Shoygu emphasized.

The news outlet Agenstvo explored what this development means for Russians. Military expert Yuri Fedorov explained that the Russian Armed Forces lack the personnel to form these units. "A full-strength motor rifle division comprises three regiments of 2-2.5 thousand troops each, plus a tank regiment, and additional units, for instance, an artillery division or regiment, amounting to about 10,000 people in total. A motor rifle brigade consists of 4,500 troops. From these divisions and brigades, two armies could be constructed. However, the people for it are lacking, unless Russia declares a mobilization," he clarified.

Fedotov estimated that for the planned formation of two armies, Russia would need to conscript over 200,000 people. Furthermore, the execution of this plan would be complicated by a lack of officers. "By conducting mobilization, the Ministry of Defense would get an untrained crowd of 200-250 thousand people. An officer is needed for every ten soldiers, and officers cannot just be summoned at will. It takes a lot of time to train them. Where they will be taken from and how they will be prepared is unknown," Fedotov noted.

Grigory Sverdlin, head of the anti-war project "Go Away into the Forest," warned that Russian conscription could begin as early as this summer or autumn. "Even before this statement, my colleagues and I predicted that mobilization would intensify after the elections but before the end of the year. In our view, it is unlikely to be as active as in the autumn of 2022, but I believe the Ministry of Defense will try to mobilize 100-150 thousand people. It's clear there aren't enough contractors, so they force conscripts to sign contracts from the first day of service, but those signing contracts are not enough to replenish the army," he explained.

  War in Ukraine, Russia