Russia will struggle to change its army, says UK intelligence

22 January, 06:47 PM
Sergei Shoigu (Photo:REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

Sergei Shoigu (Photo:REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov)

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu's plans for major changes to the structure of the Russian Armed Forces will likely translate into challenges with personnel and equipment, the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defense reported in an intelligence update on Twitter on Jan. 22.

Shoigu presented the changes he wanted to implement between 2023 and 2026 on Jan. 17. This included swelling the Russian military’s personnel up to 1.5 million instead of the 1.35 million announced earlier, with an 11% increase on top.

The minister also announced the re-establishment of Moscow and Leningrad military districts, which marks a partial return to the Soviet military structure in European Russia. Meanwhile, a new army corps is to be established in Karelia near the border with Finland.

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"Shoigu's plans signal that the Russian leadership highly likely assesses that an enhanced conventional military threat will endure for many years beyond the current Ukrainian war,” MoD wrote.

“However, Russia will highly likely struggle to staff and equip the planned expansion.”

The U.S. Institute for the Study of War (ISW) considers that the announced reforms, if enacted would create "a much more formidable Russian military threat to its neighbors, including NATO, in the coming years,” but doubts that Russia has the practical capability of going through with these changes.

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