Russia may be recruiting migrants from Central Asia to fight against Ukraine. British intelligence suggests that, in this way, Russia wants to avoid mobilising its citizens ahead of the 2024 presidential election.
The Ministry of Defence of the United Kingdom reported this.
According to British intelligence, since at least May 2023, Russia has been recruiting Central Asian migrants to fight in Ukraine, promising them fast-track citizenship and a salary of up to $4,160.
Currently, there are at least 6 million Central Asian migrants in Russia, whom the Kremlin probably sees as potential recruits.
Online advertisements have recently been spotted in Armenia and Qazaqstan offering 495,000 rubles ($5,140) in initial payments and salaries starting at 190,000 rubles ($1,973).
"Russia likely wishes to avoid further unpopular domestic mobilisation measures in the run up to the 2024 presidential elections," British Intelligence writes.
In addition, Uzbek migrant construction workers in Mariupol reportedly had their passports confiscated upon arrival and were forced to join the Russian army.
It will be recalled that Russians are recruiting people from Central Asia for the so-called "reconstruction" of temporarily occupied Mariupol.