Putin’s decree to increase the army is associated with a shortage of infantry in Ukraine and an imbalance towards equipment – experts

“It has nothing to do with the losses, it’s just the lack of people,” says a Russian military expert who asked to remain anonymous. “Ukrainians have more battalions than ours in terms of numbers. There is such an informal ratio - iron / people, and we have it strongly biased towards iron. At the same time, even when you have a lot of hardware, and we have a separate problem with good hardware, we still need people, because someone has to control the space. Even the Americans have not come up with a better person yet. If you do not have enough infantry, then you take risks, because there are bare places without observation. This is a problem both tactically and operationally, and hence all the March stories with the defeat of the columns, and so on. This is the main problem."

Recruitment of conscripts and contractors

According to the expert, one of the goals of such an expansion is to increase the number of people who can perform combat missions. A particular shortage is felt in motorized rifle squads, where now there are about eight people, instead of the regular number of 12-13 fighters.

“Given that 12-13 people will not fit into the BMP, they can form a fourth squad in platoons and simply add eight more people. There are different options to add infantry to the battlefield. In addition, the rear units also require an increase, because when you have one train of howitzer shells fired per day, you even need a lot of people with equipment to unload them. Where will they come from? Most likely, Putin's decree will focus on increasing military spending for additional recruitment for the contract. In addition, we can talk about the recruitment of conscripts, which will allow in the rear districts to replace those contract soldiers who are here and send them to combat positions.

Conscripts can be "caught up" with an increase in recruitment, the source says. According to him, the share of contract soldiers in the Russian army is growing, while conscripts, on the contrary, are falling.

Consequences of a multi-year decline

As military expert Pavel Luzin explained to The Insider, Putin's decree contradicts the entire history of the reduction of the armed forces over the past 37 years, as it has been going on since 1985 - first the Soviet and then the Russian Armed Forces.

“In 2017, 1.013 million people made the maximum number, while already in 2019 the Ministry of Finance demanded that the financial department of the Ministry of Defense bring the nominal number to the real number of armed forces. And the real number at that time was about 760-770 thousand people. These are not only my estimates, but also data from departmental magazines of the Ministry of Defense. And now they suddenly take it and raise it by 137 thousand to 1.15 million. In the early 2000s, this was the maximum number. There is no logic in this document.”

Putin was promised a threefold superiority

The Insider wrote about the insufficient staffing of Russian troops back in May. According to military expert Leonid Dmitriev, this is the main reason for the defeat of the RF Armed Forces.

“According to the standards approved in 1982, and still in force in the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, a battalion tactical group (600-800 military men) - the main offensive unit among the Russians - can conduct offensive operations on a front section of 1-2 kilometers, or else defend up to five kilometers front. In the Kharkiv direction, where the Russians are slowly but effectively ousted by the Armed Forces of Ukraine, five Russian BTGs were concentrated in May on a 100 km long front, that is, four times less than the standard. In addition, some BTGs are understaffed and number 500-600 people.”

Former Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Igor Romanenko added that the army experienced a lack of personnel from the very beginning of the invasion of Ukraine. Putin wanted to achieve fivefold superiority, but the military promised him only threefold. In reality, by May the advantage turned out to be even smaller - 1.7:1.

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