In the Russian city of Rostov, soldiers in camouflage and black masks demonstrate guns and offer recruitment contracts.
The Russian military, looking for contract soldiers for what it calls “special military operations” in Ukraine, is using mobile recruitment trucks to attract volunteers, providing nearly $2,700 a month as a motivator.
A special unit built one such truck in a central park in the southern Russian city of Rostov on Saturday and removed the sides to reveal a mobile office.
Soldiers in camouflage uniforms and black masks handed out guns to interested passers-by and handed out colored flyers titled “Contract Military Service – A Real Man’s Choice”. consume”.
Neither Russia nor Ukraine has disclosed their military losses, which Western intelligence agencies estimate to be in the tens of thousands of lives for both sides.
Moscow has not updated the official death toll since March 25, when it said 1,351 Russian soldiers were killed and 3,825 wounded. The Kremlin said last week there was no discussion of nationwide mobilization to bolster its forces.
But the recruitment shows that Moscow needs more men. The officer in charge of the Rostov truck said Russians and foreigners aged 18 to 60 with a high school education or higher would be eligible.
“Patriotic citizens are choosing to sign a three- or six-month contract to participate in special military operations,” said Major Sergei Ardashev, promising training for everyone.
The recommended minimum monthly salary is 160,000 rubles ($2,700), almost three times the national average.
One potential hire is musician Viktor Yakunin, who said he has always been intrigued by the idea of military service and is currently collecting the necessary documents.
“I enjoyed serving in the paratroopers,” he said. “My parents raised me from a young age with love for my country, protecting the Russian world. I believe the strength is on our side.”
Inside the truck, Yakunin sat down with Ardashev, who told him the next step would be a psychiatric examination. If he passes that, there will be a physical test of speed, strength and endurance.
If all goes well, the Yakunin will “go to a military unit, enroll in a particular department, [and] from that moment you begin your military service”.
Young men outside, some with families, viewed a temporary exhibit displaying paintings of the conflict’s official heroes, along with a large sign that read “Traditions” win”.