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Tags: russia | soldiers | draft | ukraine | hotspot

Russia Drafts Nearly 135K Soldiers, Says They Won't Go to 'Hot Spots'

Russian armor
Russian armored vehicles moving toward Ukraine in February. (AP)

By    |   Thursday, 31 March 2022 01:46 PM EDT

Russia will bolster its army with 134,500 newly drafted soldiers, and history says the move has nothing to do with the Ukraine war.

The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said Russia's conscription occurs every spring and usually begins April 1.

This year's draft comes little more than a month after President Vladimir Putin sent Russian troops into Ukraine to begin an unprovoked invasion.

The annual spring military draft, which runs from April 1 to July 15, will affect Russian men aged 18-27.

"Most military personnel will undergo professional training in training centers for three to five months," Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu said, Reuters reported. "Let me emphasize that recruits will not be sent to any hot spots."

Russian basic training usually lasts for two months before another round of advanced training, which takes between three to six months. Draftees usually aren't sent to fight with fewer than four months of training.

However, Mikhail Benyash, a lawyer representing several members of Russia's National Guard who refused an order to go to Ukraine, said conscripts could be sent to fight after several months of training.

Earlier this month, the Foreign Ministry admitted it had sent conscripts into Ukraine as part of supply units after Ukrainian forces captured the conscripts, forcing Russia to admit its move, the Washington Examiner reported.

"Unfortunately, we have discovered several facts of the presence of conscripts in units taking part in the special military operation in Ukraine," the Foreign Ministry said. "Practically all such soldiers have been pulled out to Russia."

Russia also holds a conscription draft between October-December, the Examiner said. The ISW said boys as young as 16 can be drafted.

The Defense Ministry drafted roughly 261,000 Russians last year.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Thursday that Russian forces in Ukraine were not withdrawing but regrouping. His comments contrasted Moscow's announcements about a scaling down of military operations around Kyiv.

NATO officials last week said they believed Russia had lost nearly 20% of its fighters in Ukraine, with Russian deaths estimated to be between 7,000 and 15,000.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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Russia will bolster its army with 134,500 newly drafted soldiers, and history says the move has nothing to do with the Ukraine war.
russia, soldiers, draft, ukraine, hotspot
Thursday, 31 March 2022 01:46 PM
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