Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu announced a large-scale reform of the Russian armed forces in order to fulfill the instruction of president Vladimir Putin to increase the number of troops from 1.15 million to 1.5 million people. "Ensuring the full military security of the state, protection of new subjects and critical facilities of the Russian Federation is possible only by strengthening the key structural components of the Armed Forces," Shoygu said at a meeting with his deputies, commanders-in-chief of the types of troops and district commanders on Tuesday, January 17.
According to Shoygu, it was decided to create two new interspecific strategic territorial groups - the Moscow and Leningrad military districts. The formation of "self-sufficient groups of troops" in the annexed territories of Ukraine is also planned.
As Shoygu specified, it is necessary "to form an army corps in Karelia, three motorized rifle divisions as part of the Ground Forces and two airborne assault divisions, to reform seven motorized rifle brigades in the Western, Central, Eastern military districts and in the Northern Fleet into motorized rifle divisions." The combat component of the Navy, the Aerospace Forces and the Strategic Missile Forces will be strengthened.
Shoygu said that large-scale changes in the composition of the Russian army, an increase in the number of troops and a change in the military-administrative composition will be carried out during 2023-2026. Particular attention will be paid to the recruitment of contract personnel.
Press Secretary of the Russian president Dmitry Peskov explained that Russia has to increase the number of its forces because of the "proxy war", which, according to him, the West is waging against Russia.
The reform of the Russian army is carried out amid Russia's bloody war against Ukraine, as a result of which, according to the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, almost 117,000 Russian servicemen have already been killed. The Ukrainian Defense Ministry does not disclose data on the losses of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed the death of 6,000 Russian soldiers in the fall. In late December, Adviser to the head of the Ukrainian Presidential Administration Mykhailo Podolyak said that since the beginning of the war, between 10 to 13 thousand Ukrainian soldiers have died.