(FreedomBeacon.com)- Six months after the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree on Thursday adding 137,000 combat members to the Russian military.
The rise will bring the total number of Russian personnel to 2.04 million and increase the country’s combat personnel from about 1.01 million to 1.15 million. According to the Russian government, the decree will go into force at the start of 2019.
An unknown number of Russian losses from the ongoing fighting in Ukraine have led to the troop influx.
Since the early weeks of the conflict in March, when they reportedly lost 1,351 soldiers, the Russian government has not released fatality figures; independent estimates within Russia put the death toll at least 5,000, though the actual number is probably higher.
Since both sides are unwilling to disclose their losses and keen to exaggerate enemy losses, complex numbers of casualties are difficult to get. Kyiv alleges that more than 45,000 Russian troops have been killed or injured by its forces.
Russian officials calculated that their forces had killed 14,000 Ukrainian soldiers and rendered 16,000 more crippled in March. Ukraine claimed to have lost 9,000 soldiers during the invasion as recently as Monday.
Although Russian soldiers continue to hold authority over Crimea, the Donbas region, and most of Ukraine’s Black Sea coastline, the Russian advance has primarily stopped in recent months. Though Ukrainian saboteurs in the annexed Crimean peninsula have successfully assaulted Russian military stations and depots far beyond enemy lines, indicating that Russian control is far from total, Russia has currently controlled about one-fifth of Ukraine’s pre-war territory.
Despite their claims that it is the product of a purposeful strategy to reduce collateral damage in the ongoing war of attrition, Russian officials have started to concede the lack of recent progress.
“Everything is being done to prevent civilian casualties. At a recent conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization in Uzbekistan, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, “Of course, this slows down the tempo of the offensive, but we are doing this purposefully.
The UN estimates that there have been considerably more civilian casualties than the almost 5,600 registered by the organization. International observers have accused Russia of purposefully attacking civilian targets, which has brought criticism its way.