More than 10,000 Russian servicemen have received cash payouts for destroying or capturing Ukrainian military hardware since Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine last year, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Friday.
The bonus payments — ranging from 50,000 to 300,000 rubles ($600 to $3,580) depending on the type of equipment — are reportedly transferred to the personal bank accounts of Russian soldiers, according to military officials.
For example, servicemen are promised 300,000 rubles for destroying an enemy helicopter or fighter jet.
The Defense Ministry said Russian troops destroyed or captured over 16,000 enemy weapons and equipment during the 15 months of its offensive, noting that U.S.-supplied HIMARS rocket systems were among the hardware targeted.
The claims could not be independently verified.
Russia continues to face serious manpower shortages for its war in Ukraine amid thousands of men killed and injured in combat and lackluster army recruitment drives.
One of the ways Moscow has sought to boost enlistment numbers is by promising servicemen huge cash bonuses for destroying Ukrainian military equipment, along with generous monthly payments.
Citing unidentified official sources, Bloomberg reported in March that the Kremlin was seeking to recruit 400,000 soldiers this year.