General Cavoli Reports 15% Growth in Russian Armed Forces

US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, serving as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, outlined a significant increase in the size of Russia's armed forces amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

by Faruk Imamovic
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General Cavoli Reports 15% Growth in Russian Armed Forces
© Getty Images/Dima Korotayev

In a recent statement to the House Armed Services Committee, US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, serving as NATO's Supreme Allied Commander Europe, outlined a significant increase in the size of Russia's armed forces amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. According to General Cavoli, Russia has increased its military personnel by approximately 15 percent since the invasion began.

"The army is actually now larger — by 15 percent — than it was when it invaded Ukraine," Cavoli remarked, highlighting a sharp rise in numbers that contradicts the common narrative of a depleted Russian military due to the war. This growth has been facilitated by a raised conscription age, now up to 30 years from the previous 27, which Cavoli noted has expanded "the pool of available military conscripts by 2 million for years to come."

This enlargement strategy means that Russia not only maintains but strengthens its military capabilities. "Over the past year, Russia increased its front-line troop strength from 360,000 to 470,000," Cavoli added, emphasizing the scale of this augmentation.

The Implications for European Stability

These developments come at a time of shifting dynamics within the international arena, particularly with respect to NATO and European security. "In sum, Russia is on track to command the largest military on the continent," stated Cavoli, projecting a formidable future presence that could redefine power balances in Europe.

Furthermore, Cavoli's assessment paints a grim picture of a potentially more aggressive Russia post-conflict. "Regardless of the outcome of the war in Ukraine, Russia will be larger, more lethal, and angrier with the West than when it invaded," he elaborated. This sentiment echoes concerns raised by Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell, who recently noted Russia's near-complete recovery of its military capabilities following significant losses, posing a renewed threat to European stability.

The situation is exacerbated by internal US politics, as dwindling stateside support for the conflict influences Ukraine's capacity to defend itself. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy voiced stark concerns, stating, "If we do not continue to support Ukraine, Ukraine will run out of artillery shells and will run out of air defense interceptors in fairly short order." This comment underscores the dire consequences of reduced aid, as Cavoli succinctly put it, "if one side can shoot and the other side can't shoot back, the side that can't shoot back loses."

Russia Europe Ukraine
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