Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin has issued an executive order increasing the number of personal of the armed forces by 170,000, citing the war in Ukraine and "NATO expansion."
Putin ordered that the staffing levels of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation be increased to a total of 2.2 million people, including 1.32 million military personnel," the president's office said in a press release issued Friday.
That translates to an increase in military personnel of 170,000, or a 15% hike, officials said.
Putin's office said the government has been ordered to provide the Ministry of Defense with "appropriate funding from the federal budget" to cover the increase.
The defense ministry said the increase was due to "the ongoing expansion of NATO" and the ongoing fighting in Ukraine, and insisted that although it means the Russian military and associated bodies will have to fill shortages within their ranks, the executive order does not represent a "significant" new mobilization.
Putin ordered a "partial mobilization" of civilians in September 2022 after a string of battlefield defeats in Ukraine, sparking protests and prompting some to flee the country, but the defense ministry tried to disassociate Friday's move from any potential draft of civilians.
"There are no plans to significantly increase the conscription of citizens for compulsory military service. There is no provision for mobilization," officials said in Telegram post Saturday.