Russia seems to be running into a manpower crisis for its military – particularly with the training of combat infantry and junior commanders, the UK Ministry of Defense said in its daily intelligence report on Sept. 16. This can be seen in the acceleration of officer cadet training, and Russian mercenary company Wagner’s embrace of recruiting prisoners for forward assault roles, the MoD noted.
According to the ministry, the Wagner Group has been conducting a campaign to recruit Russian convicts for service in Ukraine since at least July. Prisoners have been offered commutation of their sentences as well as cash incentives.
“This has been reinvigorated, with recently posted video highly likely showing Wagner owner Yevgeny Prigozhin making a recruitment pitch to prisoners,” the UK report said.
“In the video, Prigozhin emphasises that he is only seeking ‘fighters for assault units.’”
Separately, Russian military academies are shortening training courses and bringing cadets’ graduation dates forwards.
“This is almost certainly so cadets can be deployed to support the Ukraine operation,” the ministry emphasized.
“The impact of Russia’s manpower challenges has become increasingly severe.”