MOSCOW — Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday ordered the country’s military to increase the number of troops by nearly 170,000 to a total of 1.32 million, as Moscow’s military action in Ukraine continues into its 22nd month.
Putin’s decree brings the overall number of Russian military personnel to about 2.2 million, including 1.32 million troops.
It is the second such expansion of the army since 2018. The previous boost by 137,000 troops, was ordered by Putin in August 2022.
The Defense Ministry cited “the special military operation” in Ukraine and the expansion of NATO as the reasons for beefing up the army. NATO’s “joint armed forces are being built up near Russia’s borders and additional air defense systems and strike weapons are being deployed. The potential of NATO’s tactical nuclear forces is being increased,” its statement read.