Russia reported a surge in army volunteers after the Moscow attack

After the deadly terrorist attack at a concert hall in Moscow, the Russian army has seen a rise in people signing up to fight in Ukraine, the army said, AFP reported.
The Islamic State (ISIS) group claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed more than 140 people, the worst such attack in Russia in years.
Since then, however, President Vladimir Putin has continued to claim, without providing evidence, that Ukraine had a hand in planning the attack.
"In the last week and a half, a significant increase in the number of people willing to sign contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense for participation in the special military operation has been registered at the military recruitment points," the Ministry of Defense said.
Moscow calls its full-scale offensive in Ukraine a "special military operation".
The ministry said more than 100,000 people had so far volunteered to take part in the 2024 fighting - including 16,000 in the 10 days after the attack.
"Most candidates indicated that the main motive for signing the contract was the desire to avenge the victims of the tragedy that occurred on March 22," it added in a statement on Telegram.
Kiev denies any responsibility, and US officials told media that Washington had warned Russia of a possible attack in Moscow's suburbs.
But Putin and Russian officials continue to link the attack to Ukraine and its Western backers.
The Crocus City Hall attack is the deadliest ISIS has ever claimed responsibility for in Europe.
The gunmen burst into the hall and shot at the concertgoers, then set the building on fire.
Putin said last year that Russia has more than 600,000 troops fighting in Ukraine. He also ordered the country to increase its total troop strength to 1.32 million from the previous level of 1.15 million.
Last year, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said he planned to increase the number of contract soldiers - those who voluntarily enlist, as opposed to conscripts - to 745,000 this year.
Russian forces have a significant advantage in terms of human resources on the battlefield, and Kiev is struggling to respond to Moscow's intensive recruitment efforts.
The army offers relatively high salaries and has been accused of seeking to recruit from Russia's poorest regions and the country's ethnic republics. /BGNES