Zhyrokhov explains what is behind the increase in the number of the Russian army and assesses the threat to Ukraine from the north
Putin has signed a decree to increase the number of Russian occupation troops by 170,000. However, the increase in the size of the Russian army is not only due to the war in Ukraine, but also to other factors.
This was stated by military expert Mykhailo Zhyrokhov in an exclusive interview with OBOZ.UA. At the same time, the total number of the aggressor country's army exceeds 2 million.
"I do not see a big problem here from a military point of view. Right now, they are optimizing their armed forces, consolidating them, forming several new divisions. Of course, we can say that this is related to the war in Ukraine - yes, it is. But it is also due to other factors. For example, the fact that Finland joined NATO," the expert noted.
If earlier a relatively small number of troops were deployed on the Russian-Finnish border, now the Russians need to increase the number of combat units in many areas, including the Finnish one.
The situation in Armenia, which has a certain Western orientation, is also unclear. So, Russia needs additional forces in this area as well. There are certain military threats to them, and they are responding in this way.
The expert also noted that Ukrainians went through a similar process in 2017-2018, when the Verkhovna Rada increased the size of the Armed Forces. Increasing the enemy's army by 170 thousand actually means expanding the number of standard military units. This includes officers, contractors and sergeants. For example, if you imagine that four new divisions are being formed, you need to add the same number of regular units to the army. Therefore, this does not mean that everything will be provided at the expense of the mobilized, because sooner or later they will also have to be dismissed.
Regarding the northern direction, the expert noted that there is an ongoing border war that began in April 2022. There are constant attacks and continuous strikes. However, it is a mistake to say that the Russians are trying to open a new front. There has been no increase in their military grouping on the border.
They have deployed conscripts on the border to guard fortifications and simply keep an eye on the border. Moreover, the units that are being withdrawn from the front are sent there as a rest stop, as there is no such fierce shelling. So, there is no specific threat from the north.
As reported by OBOZ.UA, more than 100 relatives of the occupiers complained to Putin about "signs of deliberate extermination" of those mobilized near Avdiivka, Donetsk region of Ukraine. They say that the leadership is in a hurry to capture the city before the Russian president's press conference and the New Year 2024. In addition, even the occupiers with injuries have been sent to the assault.