Service in the Russian armed forces has become increasingly lucrative since the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Even a junior soldier mobilized for combat is paid almost three times the national average for Russian workers, British officials said Tuesday.
While the typical Russian earns the equivalent of less than $800 per month, lower-ranking troops serving in Ukraine are paid about $2,100 monthly, according to the British military’s analysis of the battlefield conditions in Ukraine.
“It is highly likely that the salary and additional benefits are a strong incentive for personnel to join up, especially to those from the poorer areas of Russia,” U.K. intelligence officials said Tuesday on X, formerly Twitter. “However, Russia is still unlikely to meet its targets for recruiting volunteers to the ranks.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense has apparently canceled ZAPAD 23, the country’s semiannual Joint Strategic Exercise intended to be the culmination of the military’s training year. The last exercise, ZAPAD 21, was held in western Russia as a reaction to what the Kremlin perceived as a threat from NATO countries. It was the largest Russian military maneuver since Soviet times, U.K. officials said.
“The Russian military’s underperformance in Ukraine has highlighted how [the exercises] have had limited training value and have largely been for show,” British intelligence officials said. “Russia has likely canceled ZAPAD 23 because too few troops and equipment are available.”