Kyiv, Ukraine – This summer, when the Russian army was still making bloody gains in eastern Ukraine, the unrelenting thunder of its artillery on the battlefield highlighted the formidable arsenal of ammunition that Moscow’s army could count on to smash its way forward.
But Russia was struggling with another vital resource: soldiers. Military analysts said that with the escalation of casualties in Ukraine, Moscow began to engage in what they described as “secret packing“With the aim of creating “volunteer battalions.” State television broadcasts telephone numbers for those wishing to join the “special operation” in Ukraine. Requests for “Contract SoldiersIt was widespread.
This month, a video appeared showing Prisoners are being recruited to fight as mercenaries In Ukraine, it provides a vivid example of Russia’s desperation to replenish the depleted ranks.
Even as Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday a “partial mobilization,” Western military analysts, as well as current and former US military officials, said it could take several weeks, if not months, for Russia to mobilize, train, and equip additional combat-ready forces. .
Michael Kaufman, director of Russian studies at CNA, a defense research institute in Arlington, Virginia, said the Kremlin’s first step would likely be to call in reserve officers and others with newer military experience to replenish severely depleted units in the field. He said the Russian military had been identifying these individuals for months in anticipation of Mr. Putin’s order.
“The bottom line is, it won’t change a lot of the problems the Russian army has faced in this war, and the army will be limited to the number of additional troops it can deploy in the field,” said Mr. Kaufman. But it is already beginning to address Russia’s structural problems with manpower shortages.
Kaufman said Putin’s announcement decisively indefinitely extends service contracts for thousands of soldiers who have signed up believing they will serve only several months, and enact policies to prevent them from refusing to deploy to Ukraine or leaving the service.
Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, confirmed in his speech on Wednesday that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed in the fighting in Ukraine, providing the first official casualty report since March. Western officials estimate Russian casualties much higher, estimating that more than 80,000 Russian soldiers were killed or wounded.
Some officials said that even if Moscow managed to mobilize reservists, the Russian army faces a serious shortage of equipment, vehicles and weapons, and the creation of new units to replace those lost in battle may not happen until early next year.
Frederick B. said: “Without massive artillery support, these new soldiers will be cannon fodder, sitting in cold, wet trenches this winter as Ukrainian forces continue to press on.”
Her struggles to muster enough regular troops have forced the Kremlin to rely on a patchwork of the poor Ethnic minorities, Ukrainians from separatist regions, mercenaries and National Guard military units to fight the war.
In parts of the eastern Luhansk and Donetsk regions occupied by Russia since 2014, the conscription of men between the ages of 18 and 65 is compulsory. Many frontline fighters are local recruits. Since they are Ukrainian citizens, the Kremlin is arrogant about their losses, experts say.
Yuri Sobolevsky, an exiled member of the Regional Council in Kherson, one of the occupied territories. Where is the referendum planned?He warned on Wednesday that men of military age who have obtained a Russian passport or provided their personal data to occupation forces are most at risk of conscription.
“The best way to avoid forced mobilization is to leave for Ukrainian-controlled territory,” he said. “If this is not possible, people should change the place of residence known to the occupying authorities and try to avoid crossing checkpoints and patrols.”
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