Russia turns to recruitment trucks, high pay to lure volunteer soldiers

Russia turns to recruitment trucks, high pay to lure volunteer soldiers

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Sept 18 (Reuters) – Russian troops, which are looking for contract soldiers for Ukraine’s “special military operation”, are using mobile recruitment trucks to attract volunteers, offering nearly $3,000 a month as incentives.

A special forces unit stationed one such truck in a central park in the southern Russian city of Rostov on Saturday and removed its side to reveal a mobile office.

Soldiers in camouflage and black masks showed their guns to interested passersby and handed out colorful pamphlets titled “Contract Military Service – Real Men’s Choice.”

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Neither Russia nor Ukraine has disclosed their military losses, with Western intelligence agencies estimating tens of thousands of losses on both sides.

Moscow has not updated its official death toll since March 25, when it said 1,351 Russian soldiers were killed and 3,825 wounded. The Kremlin said last week that there was no discussion of a nationwide mobilization to strengthen its military.read more

But the recruitment drive suggests Moscow needs more men. Russians and foreigners between the ages of 18 and 60 with at least a high school education will be eligible, officials in charge of the Rostov trucks said.

Major Sergey Ardashev said: “patriotic citizens have chosen to sign a contract of three to six months to participate in this special military operation,” promising training for all.

The minimum monthly wage is 160,000 rubles ($2,700), almost three times the national average.

One potential recruit, musician Viktor Yakunin, said he had been drawn to the idea of ​​military service and was now gathering the necessary documents.

“I would love to serve in the Airborne Forces,” he said. “My parents raised me from childhood to love my country and protect the Russian world. I believe the strength is with us.”

Inside the truck, Yakunin sat down with Ardashev, who told him the next step would be a psychiatric examination. If he passes, there will be physical fitness tests for speed, strength and endurance.

If all goes well, Yakunin will “arrive in a military unit, join a specific division, (and) from the moment you start your military service”.

Young people outside, some with family members, were viewing a temporary exhibit showing photos of official heroes of the conflict, next to a large sign that read “Victory Tradition.”

(1 USD = 59.5000 rubles)

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Reporting by Reuters; Editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Tomasz Janowski

Our Standard: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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