The Russian army has seen a devastating depletion of its military forces during the current campaign. Fierce resistance by Ukraine’s defenders have resulted in massive losses and casualties for the Kremlin. Kyiv estimates that around 45,000 Russians have died since hostilities broke out on February 24.
The Pentagon believes somewhere between 75,000 and 80,000 of Putin’s army have been killed or injured.
Despite the mounting casualties, the Russian president has refused to introduce a nationwide mobilisation.
Instead, he has relied on covert conscription carried out by state officials in both remote Russian regions and in occupied parts of Ukraine.
Evidence has now emerged of the desperate measures being used by Russia’s army to meet its recruitment needs.
Anecdotal reports suggest that officials are raiding hospitals to round up patients receiving treatment and sending them to enlistment camps.
A woman recounted how her husband was collared by recruitment officials, while receiving treatment in a hospital in the the city of Alchevsk.
The industrial city is located in Luhansk province in the Donbas, which was captured by Russia’s army at the end of July.
She wrote: “Today, they rounded up my husband and sent him to the front.
“He was receiving treatment at the hospital in Alchevsk. After being given a drip, he was discharged by the hospital and told he could go home.
“He was detained on the street (by enlistment officials) and despite his protests was sent to Beloe.
“They also nabbed a young lad with a broken foot, who has to use crutches to get around!
The militia has also issued adverts in which they say people from the Commonwealth of Independent States, (former Soviet republics), between the ages of 24-52 can apply to join the group.
Adverts for the army have been placed on utility bills that millions of Russian receive every month.
The Russian president seems to be afraid of provoking a significant social backlash if he introduces a general call up to the army.
A national mobilisation would make a mockery of the Kremlin’s claim that it is not fighting a war in Ukraine.
Putin and his acolytes have insisted that their forces are only engaged in a “special military operation”.