The Russian army has started recruiting volunteers for its war in Ukraine, according to the British secret service, which says men up to 50 years old with at least high school diplomas are being offered lucrative bonuses to sign up.
The headquarters of this new unit will be in Moelino, a town near Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow.
According to the British secret service, it is unlikely that this new army unit will have a decisive impact on the war. Moscow is not expected to get 15,000 to 20,000 Russians, the usual size of such a unit, to go and fight in Ukraine, observers note.
Both sides have suffered significant losses since the start of the war in late February; as a result, the war is going much less smoothly than the Russian generals had expected at the start, the observers add.
Currently, the Russians are struggling to make progress in their offensive in eastern Ukraine's Donbass region, while also repelling counterattacks in the south by the Ukrainians, helped in this by arms deliveries to Kyiv from the West.
For several months now, the British government has been publishing regular updates on the war based on intelligence from the secret services. However, Moscow accuses London of disinformation.