Russia is struggling to find more soldiers to fight in Ukraine, according to a senior US Defense official on Monday (local time).
The Hill quoting the Defense official reported that the US government doesn't think Russian President Vladimir Putin's recent effort to increase the size of his military by more than 130,000 troops will succeed.
Last week, Putin signed a decree to boost Russia's combat personnel from 1.9 million to 2.04 million starting next year.
As per the US official, Russia has historically not met personnel end strength targets.
They added that prior to Russia's action in Ukraine on February 24, the country "may have already been 150,000 personnel short of their million personnel goal" and trying to expand recruitment efforts by eliminating the upper age limit for new recruits and recruiting prisoners.
The official also noted that many of the recruits of the Russian side have been observed as older, unfit and ill trained.
"Many of these new recruits have been observed as older, unfit and ill trained. So what this all suggests to us is that any additional personnel Russia is able to muster by the end of the year may not, in fact, increase overall Russian ... combat power," the official said.
Meanwhile, the US Defense Department has started sending the shipment of weapons to Ukraine by sea. Ships are able to transport large quantities of cargo, despite being slower than aircraft, which could allow Kyiv to build up a bigger weapons arsenal, according to media reports.
Earlier, the United States announced a new USD 2.98 billion package of military aid for Ukraine, which includes six additional National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS), from the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI), which finances the US defense industry to boost production of certain weapons.
Most of the previous security packages for Ukraine were presidential drawdown packages that sent weapons and equipment from the US national defense stockpile. However, the United States does not have NASAMS in stock that are immediately available for Ukraine.
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