Russia has sent approximately 10,000 newly naturalized citizens to fight in Ukraine, according to Alexander Bastrykin, head of Russia's Investigative Committee, on Thursday, June 27.

He reported that Russia is cracking down on migrants who received Russian citizenship but failed to register with military authorities.

Bastrykin said that they had caught up with more than 30,000 individuals who had received citizenship but did not want to register for military service, and had added them to the list of men potentially eligible for the draft.

“Already around 10,000 have been sent to the zone of the ‘special military operation,’” he added, using Russia’s official terminology for its war against Ukraine.

Moscow is under fire for pressuring Central Asian migrants to join its armed forces as part of a major recruitment drive for the Ukraine war. Millions of Central Asian migrant workers live in Russia, often in low-paid jobs, sending money back to their families.

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Recently, Russia has eased the process for these migrants to obtain citizenship, addressing labor shortages. However, Russian citizenship requires migrants to register with military authorities and potentially serve in the army.

According to Bastrykin, some migrants have started “slowly leaving” due to increased inspections.

Anti-migrant sentiments have surged in Russia following a terrorist attack on a Moscow concert hall in March that killed over 140 people. Police have arrested several suspects from Tajikistan in connection with the attack.

British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024
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British Defence Intelligence Update Ukraine 15 July 2024

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Consequently, raids on migrant workplaces and dormitories have intensified, and politicians are urging the Kremlin to adopt a tougher stance on migration.

Russia is expected to significantly increase the size of its military presence in Ukraine, with an additional 200,000-300,000 troops set to join their ranks, according to Ukrainian Defense Minister Rustem Umerov in an interview with Reuters.

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The minister reported that the current number of Russian forces stationed in Ukraine and along its borders stands at 500,000 troops.

Back in February Ukraine's Military Defense Intelligence disclosed that Russia has been recruiting mercenaries from Syria to bolster its military resources for the war in Ukraine.

Initial training sessions that focus on urban combat operations for the first group of mercenaries, estimated to be around 1,000 strong, were said to be underway in Syria, near the city of Aleppo and the Kuweires airfield.

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