A Russian state TV guest insisted the country needed at least 4 million more soldiers in order to win its war in Ukraine.
Aleksey Zhuravlyov, chairman of the ultranationalist Rodina party that supports President Vladimir Putin, made the comments during a discussion on the state-approved Russia 1 channel.
Zhuravlyov said in a May 21 tweet shared by the Twitter account @wartranslated: “I was saying at the end of last year that it was needed. And I’m saying now that it is needed. Say what you want, but it’s true.
“You see, it’s impossible they [Ukrainians] are mobilizing everyone. A million, two, three. It’s not a person, it’s an armed person, on the frontline.”
He continued: “It is impossible to go with 400-500k people where 3-4 million are needed. You can say whatever you want, but it’s true.
“People need rest, rotation, reequipment, and so on. These are facts, if you don’t want it let’s do a volunteer army, I’m up for it too. Not dispersed volunteer units to plug holes in the frontline, but a whole army.”
Since being shared on Sunday, May 21, the clip has attracted an estimated 46,100 views on Twitter.
Zhuravlyov’s comments come amid claims the Ukrainian city of Bakhmut has been taken by Russian forces.
Yevgeny Prigozhin, the head of the Wagner Group of mercenaries, said his troops secured the city in the Donetsk region.
He claimed Russian troops secured full control of the city that has been destroyed following months of continuous fighting.
On Saturday, Prigozhin said on his Telegram channel: “At noon on the 20 May 2023, Bakhmut was fully taken. We have completely taken the whole city, from house to house.”
But there has been confusion over whether Bakhmut is indeed under full Russian control as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky appeared to offer mixed messages about its plight.
Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister Hanna Maliar wrote on Telegram on Saturday that the situation in Bakhmut was “critical.”
Newsweek has been unable to verify whether Russia has gained full control of Bakhmut.
During a press conference at the G7 summit in Hiroshima, Japan, on Sunday, Zelensky said the Ukrainian military was still in Bakhmut.
Zelensky earlier told the media: “There is nothing, they [Russia] destroyed everything. Balhmut is only in our hearts.”
Zelensky’s press secretary later insisted the Ukrainian leader refuted the claim that Russia had captured the city. The press secretary added: “In this way, the president denied the capture of Bakhmut.”
Newsweek has contacted the Kremlin for comment via email.