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U.K. Defense Ministry: Russia recruits foreign nationals and migrants from Central Asia to avoid domestic mobilization before upcoming elections

Source: Meduza

The Russian authorities are attempting to replenish their armed forces by recruiting foreign nationals to fight in the war, the U.K. Defense Ministry writes in its daily update.

British defense intelligence said that online advertisements were seen in Armenia and Kazakhstan offering recruits 495,000 rubles (around $5,140) in initial payments and salaries from 190,000 rubles (around $1,973). Recruiters also targeted the ethnic Russian population in Kazakhstan’s Kostanay region.

The Russian authorities promise to fast-track citizenship for foreigners who sign contracts with the army. According to the update, Russia has been recruiting migrants from Central Asia to join the army since May 2023, promising them a salary of $4160.

British intelligence claims that recruiters have also used violent methods, such as confiscating the passports of Uzbek migrant construction workers upon arrival in Mariupol and coercing them to join the Russian army.

The Kremlin likely sees the approximately six million migrants from Central Asia in Russia as potential recruits, says the U.K. Defense Ministry.

“Russia likely wishes to avoid further unpopular domestic mobilization measures in the run up to the 2024 Presidential elections. Exploiting foreign nationals allows the Kremlin to acquire additional personnel for its war effort in the face of mounting casualties,” reads the update.

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