Russia's local leaders should "self-mobilize" their regions for the Russian military, Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov said Thursday, according to Russian media, with his call coming as Russia continues to suffer a manpower shortage in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Kadyrov urged the many regions in Russia to encourage self-mobilization, saying that each region should be able to gather at least 1,000 volunteers to help with Russia's war in Ukraine, which it calls a "special military operation."
The Chechen leader's call was supported by Russian Kursk Oblast Governor Roman Starovoit, who said every regional leader should be taking part to help bolster the Russian Army.
"Every regional head must act as responsibly as possible in their post and help our troops."Russian Kursk Oblast Governor Roman Starovoit
"Every regional head must act as responsibly as possible in their post and help our troops," Starovoit said, RIA reported, citing his official Telegram channel.
He added that his own Kursk Oblast has already sent over 800 volunteers to take part in the war in Ukraine after receiving appropriate training and being provided with all necessary equipment.
Russia's manpower problems and mobilization limits
The Russian Army has experienced severe losses in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine, and its forces have now been on the defensive as a result of recent Ukrainian counteroffensives in the Kherson and Karkhiv oblasts.
This in turn has resulted in a severe manpower shortage.
Russia is aware of this, and on August 25, Russian President Vladimir Putin issued a decree to increase the Russian armed forces by almost 137,000.
But according to a recent US Defense Department briefing from late August, Russia will not meet the manpower goals for its new military expansion.
The UK Defense Ministry also wrote that Russia's attempts to replenish its ranks will likely not be successful, and said it wasn't clear how they will manage to pull it off.
For a while, Russia has reportedly been heavily relying on the use of mercenaries like the Wagner Group and volunteer "contract" soldiers.
However, according to Ukrainian intelligence, contract soldiers only serve for short periods and received very limited training.
It was also alleged that Russia may even be recruiting prisoners to shore up its manpower.
Russia not considering nationwide mobilization
Despite this, Russia is in possession of a large population and one of the largest armies in the world, including a large number of reservists. In particular, there are around 2 million Russian men who have served in the military within the past five years who could, in theory, be mobilized.
However, Russia has already said there was no discussion on a nationwide mobilization.
This unwillingness to mobilize is because it would essentially be an admission that what the Kremlin labels as a simple limited military mission is in fact a full-scale war that is going badly for Russia, according to Reuters.
Reuters contributed to this report.