On day 416 of the war in Ukraine, the Russian military is trying to replenish its numbers with a new force generation scheme.
Russian Casualties in Ukraine
The Russian forces continue to lose men on the ground in Ukraine. The Russian military and Wagner Group private military company have re-energized their assault against the town of Bakhmut, and that is coming with more killed or wounded.
The rate of Russian casualties continues to remain relatively low compared to previous weeks.
Destroyed equipment includes: 307 fighter, attack, bomber, and transport jets, 293 attack and transport helicopters, 3,653 tanks, 2,785 artillery pieces, 7,073 armored personnel carriers and infantry fighting vehicles, 535 Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (MLRS), 18 boats and cutters, 5,646 vehicles and fuel tanks, 283 anti-aircraft batteries, 2,239 tactical unmanned aerial systems, 324 special equipment platforms, such as bridging vehicles, and four mobile Iskander ballistic missile systems, and 911 cruise missiles shot down by the Ukrainian air defenses.
Russian Force Generation
The Russian military is running out of men. In more than 14 months of combat, the Russian forces have lost hundreds of thousands of men killed or wounded. Western intelligence estimates put the number at more than 220,000 casualties, while the Ukrainians—who are more ambitious in the number of Russian weapon system losses—claim just over 180,000 Russian troops killed or wounded.
Earlier in the week, the Russian parliament introduced a new law that established a unified registry of Russian men who are eligible for military service. Similar to the United States’ selective service, the registry will allow the Russian Ministry of Defense to have a better sense of the country’s strategic manpower reserves.
The scheme will also make further mobilizations that much easier. Now, the Russian Ministry of Defense will be able to call up reservists or conscripts electronically rather than physically via mail.
“With individuals’ call-up data now digitally linked to other state-provided online services, it is likely that the authorities will punish draft-dodgers by automatically limiting employment rights and restricting foreign travel,” the British Military Intelligence assessed in its latest estimate of the war.
This measure will make draft dodging harder.
“The measures are reported to be coming into force later in the year; they do not specifically indicate any major new wave of enforced mobilization,” the British Military Intelligence stated.
“Russia is, for now, prioritising a drive to recruit extra volunteer troops. However, the measure is highly likely part of a longer-term approach to provide personnel as Russia anticipates a lengthy conflict in Ukraine,” the British Military Intelligence added.
The Russian military has had trouble generating enough forces to support its offensive operations in the Donbas and eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin has tried to make up for the losses by outsourcing offensive operations to the Wagner Group private military company.
But the infamous mercenary group has also suffered catastrophic losses on the ground. And thus, the Russian offensive in Ukraine continues to look for men.
A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.