By Sasha Kinskey, The Chicago Times
December 21, 2022
MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the western powers on Wednesday that increasing the transfer of U.S. weapons to Ukraine would widen the war and Russian resolve to win in Ukraine.
In a meeting with Russian military leaders, Putin vowed to train and strengthen the Russian military and to learn from their humiliating withdrawal from northern and eastern Ukraine over the past few months. Putin also claimed that Russia would place a special emphasis on nuclear forces which he declared Russia’s final guarantee of sovereignty. Putin may have been referring to Russia’s new Sarmat intercontinental ballistic missile which is scheduled to go into service shortly.
Russian ground forces have been strengthened to nearly 1 million soldiers ranging from volunteers to conscripts. According to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, military personnel consist of 695,000 volunteer contract soldiers with the remaining being conscripts. Historically, the Russian Federation has mandatory conscription for men 18 to 27, but it is expected that the age requirements will change to 21 to 30 years of age. Conscripts, who serve one year, will often be given the choice to join the armed services as a regular. In recent years, it has been alleged that the Russian military routinely forces conscripts to sign active military service contracts.
Russian military strategists have also indicated a return to Cold War strategy in countering NATO, especially with the addition of Finland and Sweden into the western alliance. Russia is expected to form and deploy new military units to strategic locations in the west. NATO strategists believe these new units will be larger than the units currently fighting in Ukraine, which might explain the series of Russian defeats in Eastern Ukraine.