Shoigu humbly pointed to the capture of Mariupol and the establishment of control over the North Crimean Canal as the key achievements. Nevertheless, the commander-in-chief highlighted “issues that need our special attention, including issues we have discussed more than once.” He named communications, automated command and control systems for troops and weapons, counter-battery tactics and target detection, the problems with which, it follows, are preventing the army from achieving even greater success.
Separately, Putin commented on drones, describing how they should be used (note that it is how they have been used for 20 years in the armies of the US and its allies, who, according to the Kremlin, are actually fighting against Russia in Ukraine): “Unmanned vehicles should be interconnected, integrated into a single intelligence network, and should have secure communication channels with headquarters and commanders. In the near future, every soldier should be able to receive information transmitted from drones.” He is confident that “technically speaking, [such a system] can be implemented in the very near future, almost now.” One can only guess why it has not been implemented yet.
Both Shoigu and Putin mentioned “all the well-known issues” that arose during the partial mobilization, yet again without naming them. Putin promptly pointed out how they should be resolved: “First, it is necessary to upgrade the system of military commissariat offices. I am referring to the digitization of databases and interaction with the local and regional authorities. It is necessary to upgrade the organization of civil and territorial defense and interaction with industry. In particular, we need to improve the system of stockpiling and storing arms, combat equipment and material resources for the deployment of units and formations during mobilization.”Big plans
Perhaps the most important thing that was mentioned at the meeting was increasing the size of the armed forces. Shoigu outlined grandiose plans for a buildup, stating the need for 1.50 million servicemen. Just on January 1 did a presidential decree
to increase their number by 137,000 to 1.15 million come into force, meaning another 350,000 people will now have to be found. The target for contract soldiers was given at 695,000, compared with the 521,000 targeted by the end of 2023. Just last year the Defense Ministry spoke of 405,000 contract soldiers as a great achievement. It might be assumed that the ministry expects that the mobilized soldiers will like their salary (and life at the front) so much that they will jump at the opportunity to sign contracts.