Russia issues new regulations governing volunteer service: MoD
Moscow's decision comes just days after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced that the Ukrainian counter-offensive has begun.
Russia issued instructions to regulate the conscriptions of military volunteer contractors before July 1 to grant them necessary legal status, organize their service, and establish a uniform approach in assigning them tasks.
"In order to increase the effectiveness of the use of volunteer formations as part of the United Group of Forces, the Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation signed an order that defines the procedure for the organization of service activities of volunteer organizations," the Russian Defense Ministry said on Saturday.
The statement comes after Russian President Vladimir Putin told reporters on Friday that the Ukrainian counteroffensive in the special military operation zone has begun and that Kiev is resorting to its strategic reserves.
He further said that Ukrainian forces failed to meet their goals "thanks to the courage" of Russian troops and that Ukrainian armed forces suffered losses "higher than usual" in the past few days.
According to the Russian Deputy Minister of Defense Nikolay Pankov, the order will give contractors the choice to either join volunteer groups or be assigned to the Defense Ministry. The contracts will include social protections and assistance benefits for them and their families.
Pankov revealed that the number of volunteers significantly rose in May compared to the same month last year and March this year.
"Over the first 10 days of this month, more than 13,500 people have signed up for contract service, which is 2.1 times as many as during the same period in May, and 3.1 times as many as during the same period in April 2023."
Putin announced in September 2022 a partial mobilization in Russia to support forces fighting on fronts in Ukraine.
The goal to mobilize 300,000 citizens was completed in October of the same year, after which the Russian defense ministry announced that no additional activities are necessary.
Kremlin Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said then that Moscow decided to declare the partial mobilization as NATO became a de facto party in the confrontation against Russia in Ukraine, with all of the coalition's logistical capabilities.