Russia announced sweeping changes to its military Tuesday, triggered by what the Kremlin called a “proxy war” with the U.S. in Ukraine, according to Reuters and state media sources.
Russia will increase the size of its armed forces to 1.5 million between 2023 to 2026 and reinforce the capabilities of its air, sea and strategic missile forces as the war in Ukraine grinds on, Reuters and Russian state-run media TASS reported. Moscow said the changes are necessary to address increased opposition from western countries who have shown their desire to harm Russia through economic sanctions and supply of weapons to Ukraine, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitri Peskov said.
“Only by strengthening the key structural components of the Armed Forces is it possible to guarantee the military security of the state and protect new entities and critical facilities of the Russian Federation,” Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, according to TASS.
While Russian ground forces have struggled through brutal fighting in Ukraine and have largely stalled or faced strategic defeat in recent months, according to Reuters, Russia continues to pound cities with cruise and ballistic missiles. Russia’s defense ministry said Friday to control the town of Soledar in Ukraine’s eastern region after weeks of urban fighting, but analysts said the victory would not help Russia capture more territory.
Russia has produced the first set of Poseidon nuclear-capable super torpedoes. It was produced for use by the Belgorod special-purpose nuclear submarine.
— Fuad Alakbarov (@DrAlakbarov) January 16, 2023
Shoigu reshuffled Ministry of Defense leadership once again on Wednesday, sacking the former official in charge of the “special military operation” in Russia and appointing Army General Valery Gerasimov, chief of the military general staff, in his place, Reuters reported.
Moscow’s military has also demonstrated a variety of high-tech weapons since the start of the “special military operation” 11 months ago and scaled up efforts to send signals of military strength across the globe, according to Reuters.
The defense ministry produced the first round of nuclear-armed Poseidon super torpedoes, characterized as a retaliatory weapon that can generate massive radioactive ocean swells on Monday, according to Reuters. Russian President Vladimir Putin dispatched ships carrying Zircon hypersonic missiles into the Atlantic on Wednesday, their first deployment into a potential combat scenario, CNN reported.
“It has no analogues in any country in the world,” Putin said of the Zircon, according to CNN. “I am sure that such powerful weapons will reliably protect Russia from potential external threats and will help ensure the national interests of our country.”
The ministry is also considering raising the draft age, Peskov said, according to TASS.
Russia’s “security should be fully guaranteed,” Peskov emphasized, according to TASS.
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