Russian mobilization led to a slew of military setbacks in Ukraine. Now, Moscow will mobilize up to one million reservists for its action in Ukraine, not 300,000, according to Russian media reports.
There is apparently a secret clause in Russian president Vladimir Putin’s “partial” mobilization decree that permits the Kremlin to draft way more soldiers than previously announced, a source informed the Novaya Gazeta, a European newspaper. According to the source, the number was changed several times and eventually settled at a million. Defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, announced the 300,000 figure after Putin announced the decision to mobilize.
But there have been concerns about how accurate the figure is. Shoigu’s quoted number is just a notional figure that probably has no relationship to what is actually happening. However, the Kremlin has called the one million figure “a lie.”
Russia’s mobilization is the first since the Second World War. The move sparked country-wide protests, the first in months, leading to more than 1,300 arrests in 39 cities across Russia, said rights groups.
The enlistment drive reportedly resulted in a large-scale exodus of the ones eligible for the draft. People are hurdling to buy tickets out of Russia, skyrocketing the prices. And, traffic at border crossings with Finland and Georgia grew. But people trying to flee are not allowed to enter Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, or Poland since they started turning away Russian tourists starting Monday due to the war of the Kremlin in Ukraine.
People are desperate to flee the country; they are afraid that they will not be able to leave the country later. They are buying rockets out of Russia, no matter the destination.
The Kremlin called such reports an exaggeration. However, it did not deny that men at protests were being given draft papers. Mr. Peskov, the president’s spokesperson, claimed the move was not against the law.
British Ministry of Defence’s (MoD) latest military update on Thursday stated that Russia would find it difficult to gather 300,00 new troops at the very least. Russia will probably struggle with the logistical and administrative challenges of mustering the quoted 300,000 soldiers, the department said. Russia might attempt to stand up new formations with most of these troops, which might not even be combat effective for months to come, according to MoD.
It further added that even this limited mobilization would likely be highly unpopular with parts of the Russian population. Putin is accepting a huge political risk in hopes of generating much-needed combat power.
Due to the series of humiliating setbacks that Russia faced in Ukraine, the Russian president said Moscow would annex swathes of the territory it captured there. He further stated that he was prepared to resort to nuclear power to protect Russia.