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In this weekend's Wall Street Journal, there is an article about Russia being a hotbed for terrorism. I apologize for the serious subject matter, but I wanted to see if my understanding of the まで principle is correct.

A line reads:

ロシアのプーチン大統領はロシアと中央アジアから最大7000人が中東でIS戦闘員として参加していると述べた。

My interpretation is Russia's President Putin declared that as much as 7,000 soldiers from Russia and Central Asia join IS in the Middle East.

Assuming this translation is correct, would the meaning change if I substituted 最大 with まで?

e.g.:

ロシアのプーチン大統領はロシアと中央アジアからまで7000人が中東でIS戦闘員として参加していると述べた。

Thanks!

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My interpretation is Russia's President Putin declared that as much as 7,000 soldiers from Russia and Central Asia join IS in the Middle East.

Correct.

まで7000人が

Sorry but this is not grammatical.

These sentences are interchangeable:

このエレベーターには最大10人が乗れます (As many as 10 people can take this evevator.)

このエレベーターには10人まで乗れます

But we feel very odd to hear

ロシアと中央アジアから7000人までが中東でIS戦闘員として参加している

perhaps because "まで" sounds too strongly like a limitation or capability. It's unnatural to use it when talking about the upper bound of an estimation.

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