The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said that Russia has offered their “first insights” with fresh military plans to stations troops near to the borders of Sweden and Finland.
Following Vladimir Putin and his Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s statements made at the meeting with the Defence Ministry board on Wednesday, they are planning to expand troop numbers by 30%.
The British MoD has said by expanding troops numbers by 30% this means the military will have 1.5 million personnel, but “it isn’t clear when this level would be achieved.”
Shoigu said that the expansion will involve two brigades in the north western are of Russia which will mean it will grow to divisional strength, amid the so called threat from Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
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The British MoD said, “This constitutes one of the first insights into how Russia aspires to adapt its forces to the long-term strategic challenges resulting from its invasion of Ukraine.”
Putin also made a number of statements, including a vow to provide “everything that the army asks for.”
Retired Air Vice-Marshal Sean Bell told Sky News, “The rhetoric in that speech was absolutely about a maximalist approach, it was not just about taking the Donetsk, it was about subjugating Ukraine more widely and absolutely blaming the West and NATO for this action.
“The worrying part of the speech was the announcement was that he is planning to change defence policy.
“The justification again was the threat from NATO. Interestingly, Russia is in a recession at the moment, so the more money you put in defence, the less money you have for domestic issues.
“What Russia is doing is building the foundations for a much more robust military in the future, and he’s mobilising Russian industry.”
He explained that this poses “an increased threat” to the West because defence assumptions will therefore have to change, to which the West, NATO and their allies will be paying close attention to the developments.