Russian President Vladimir Putin described the fighting in Ukraine as a ‘tragedy’ but vowed to pursue his campaign there until its goals are reached.
Speaking at a meeting Putin held with top military brass last year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the 1.5 million-member military should include 695,000 volunteer contract soldiers.
He didn’t say when the increased strength would be achieved.
Shoigu also declared plans to form new military units in western Russia to counterbalance plans by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
Putin ordered an unpopular mobilization of 300,000 reservists in September last year to beef up Russia’s forces in Ukraine.
He said that 150,000 of them were deployed to combat zones in the neighboring country, while the rest were undergoing training.
Nevertheless, 1.5 million-member military keeps increasing with time.
Putin has vowed that what he termed a ‘special military operation’ would continue until its tasks are completed.
‘I don’t have any doubt that all the goals set will be achieved,’ he said.