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3 Apr, 2024 10:25

Russian army has recruited 100,000 so far this year – MOD

Many people want to avenge the massacre at the Crocus City concert hall, the Defense Ministry has said
Russian army has recruited 100,000 so far this year – MOD

The Russian Defense Ministry has registered an influx of volunteers willing to sign up as contract soldiers this year, with many willing to join the fight against Ukraine after Russian officials suggested Kiev may have been behind the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the ministry said that more than 100,000 people had signed contracts since the start of 2024, with numbers increasing nationwide.

Officials estimate that up to 1,700 volunteers register at recruitment centers each day, and that in the past 10 days some 16,000 Russian citizens have signed contracts.

“During interviews conducted over the past week… most candidates said their main motive for concluding a contract was a desire to avenge those killed in the tragedy that occurred on March 22, 2024 in Moscow Region,” the ministry added. 

The Crocus City Hall tragedy claimed the lives of at least 144 people, including several children, and injured nearly 200, making it the worst terrorist attack on Russian soil since the early 2000s. A group of armed men – described by the Russian authorities as radical Islamists – stormed the venue, shooting indiscriminately before setting the building on fire.

According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, the suspects directly involved in the attack were caught while fleeing towards the Ukrainian border where “a window” to cross the frontier had been arranged for them. Kiev has vehemently denied any involvement, and its Western backers have pinned the blame on Islamic State terrorists.

In late December, Putin said that a total of 617,000 service members were present in the zone of the military operation against Ukraine. He noted at the time that out of this number, 244,000 had been mobilized in the autumn of 2022. At the time, Moscow had called up 300,000 people.

The Russian president also said that 41,000 had been dismissed for various reasons since then. Putin added that Moscow does not plan to announce a second wave of mobilization, as nearly 500,000 troops have current contracts with the Defense Ministry.