WARSAW — Russia's President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree enabling foreign nationals to serve in the Russian military.

The executive order On Amending the Regulation on the Military Service, which modifies a decree from Sept. 16, 1999, was signed by Putin on Jan. 3, the president's office said in a statement.

"The executive order determines the procedure for foreign citizens serving under contract in the Russian Armed Forces," the statement said. "Foreign servicemen can participate in operations during martial law, as well as in armed conflicts, in accordance with [the] generally accepted principles of international law, international agreements and Russian legislation."

With the new decree, Russian-speaking foreigners will be able enabled to serve in the country's armed forces for a period of at least five years.

As a result of the latest move, more recruits from ex-Soviet republics are expected to enlist for Russia's foreign military missions, such as the country's operations in eastern Ukraine where Moscow is backing anti-government rebels. The decision could also facilitate Russia's efforts to boost its military presence in Central Asia, according to various media reports.

The Kremlin's move follows the release of Russia's new Military Doctrine on Dec. 26, 2014. The policy document says that "the expansion of NATO's military potential on the Russian border" is a major threat to the country's security.

Email: jadamowski@defensenews.com.