Putin orders another 137,000 Russia troops amid reports of heavy casualties

Vladimir Putin has ordered the Russian military to increase with another 137,000 troops from next year as Moscow’s invasion in Ukraine passes the six-month mark.

The Russian president’s decree signed on Thursday did not explain whether the military will increase its ranks by drafting a bigger number of conscripts, increasing the number of volunteer soldiers or using a combination of both.

The Kremlin has said that only volunteer contract soldiers take part in what it calls the “special military operation” in Ukraine, rejecting claims that it was considering a broad mobilisation.

It comes amid reports that Russian forces have suffered heavy losses, though Moscow is yet to publish any official number of their casualties.

Putin seeks to boost the number of Russian armed forces’ personnel to 2,039,758 overall, including 1,150,628 servicemen. A previous order put the military’s numbers at 1,902,758 and 1,013,628 respectively at the start of 2018.

More to follow…