The Russian authorities have encouraged the recruitment of citizens of neighboring countries to fight in Ukraine, according to British intelligence, which attributes these efforts to a desire to avoid the political effects of any internal – and “unpopular” – mobilization. “Russia may wish to avoid unpopular mobilization measures ahead of the 2024 presidential election,” said the latest report by British experts, seen by the MoD. To this end, the Russian authorities placed online advertisements in Armenia and Kazakhstan offering 495,000 rubles (about 4,800 euros) as a down payment and a salary of 190,000 rubles (more than 1,800 euros).
In the case of Kazakhstan, specific recruitment efforts took place in the Kostanay region, with the ethnic Russian population drawn in. Moreover, since at least last May, Russia has been luring migrants of Asian descent with offers to join forces in Ukraine in exchange for citizenship and salaries that can reach more than 3,800 euros. British intelligence also indicated that in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which is occupied by Russian forces, the passports of Uzbek migrants, mainly employed in construction, were confiscated as a measure of pressure to join the fight. British authorities said that in Russia alone there are at least six million immigrants from Central Asia who the Kremlin considers “potential recruits”. Problem upon problem for Vladimir Putin.
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