Russia preparing to mobilise extra 500,000 conscripts, claims Ukraine

Authored by and submitted by Idrather_be_fishing

Ukraine’s military intelligence has claimed that Russia is set to order the mobilisation of as many as 500,000 conscripts in January in addition to the 300,000 it called up in October, in another apparent sign that Vladimir Putin has no intention of ending the war.

Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, said Ukraine believed the conscripts would be part of a string of Russian offensives over the spring and summer in the east and south of the country.

Russia has denied it is preparing a second wave of mobilisation, with Putin saying last month it was “pointless” to talk about a new call-up, claiming that only half of those already mobilised had been sent to Ukraine.

Russian officials, including Putin, previously denied plans to order a mobilisation before eventually declaring a “partial mobilisation” in September.

Ukraine’s warning of a new mobilisation comes as Russia claims to have adhered to its unilateral ceasefire on Orthodox Christmas.

The Russian defence ministry on Friday claimed its troops began observing a ceasefire from noon Moscow time “along the entire line of contact”. But, nevertheless, a fire station in Ukrainian-controlled Kherson was shelled, killing a firefighter and injuring four other people, according to Kherson’s regional administration.

Meanwhile, fighting appeared to have continued across the contact line in the eastern Donetsk region.

Citing witnesses in Russian-occupied regional capital Donetsk, Reuters reported outgoing artillery fire from Russian positions on the city’s outskirts after the truce was meant to take effect. Russia’s Tass agency reported that Ukrainian forces had shelled the city at noon.

Denis Pushilin, the Russian-installed leader in Donetsk, on Thursday evening said Putin’s order only covered offensive operations and that his forces would hit back if fired upon.

Hours prior to the announced ceasefire, Russian rockets hit a residential building in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kramatorsk, damaging 14 homes, the mayor said, adding that there were no casualties.

The Ukrainian estimate of troops set to be mobilised is higher than that in September, which proved widely unpopular and set off protests across Russia.

If the estimate proves correct, Russia will have almost doubled its prewar force in the space of a few months. Ukraine’s military intelligence said 280,000 Russian ground troops were currently deployed against Ukraine.

In the summer, Ukraine’s national security chief, Oleksii Danilov, said a million Ukrainians were gaining combat experience, although it is probable only a minority of this number are on active duty.

Skibitsky said it would take Russia approximately two months to put together the military formations and any Russian success on the battlefield would depend on how well equipped and trained the Russians are. Much will also depend, he said, on the continued supply of western ammunition and weaponry to Ukraine in order to equip the new reserve units Ukraine is preparing.

“If Russia loses this time around, then Putin will collapse,” said Skibitsky, describing the upcoming six to eight months as the last push.

He said Ukraine expected the latest wave of mobilisation to be announced on 15 January, after Russia’s winter holiday period. “They are putting their emphasis on numbers of men and equipment and hoping to overwhelm our side.”

Andrey Gurulyov, a retired Russian colonel general and Duma deputy, said on Wednesday there were “no reasons or conditions” for Moscow to announce a second mobilisation in the next six months.

“Not everyone who was mobilised earlier has been sent to the battle,” Gurulyov told Russia media, referring to the tens of thousands of conscripts undergoing military training.

Contradicting the official line, several pro-war nationalist bloggers who have gained influence in recent months have said Russia had no choice but to soon announce a new mobilisation drive.

Igor Strelkov, a Russian ultra-nationalist commentator and former intelligence officer, predicted Moscow would announce a mobilisation next month.

“There will be a second wave of mobilisation. We will be forced to carry out the second, and maybe the third wave. To win in Ukraine, we will need to call up at least another half a million soldiers,” Strelkov said, adding that the new mobilisation drive would be held in late February, on the anniversary of the start of the war.

“We expect them to conduct offensives in Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, as well as possibly Zaporizhzhia but to defend in Kherson and Crimea. This is the number of men they will need for such a task,” said Skibitsky, explaining why they expect half a million to be mobilised.

In December, Ukraine’s minister of defence, Oleksii Reznikov, and army commander, Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, said Russia would attack from Belarus again this coming February. Conversely, Ukraine’s military intelligence said they believed the possibility of an attack from Belarus was low.

According to Skibitsky, Russia only has one division – of about 15,000 personnel – in Belarus. In February last year, it had 45,000 and was unsuccessful in taking Kyiv, even though Ukraine was underprepared, he said.

Now, Ukraine’s northern defensive positions are strong and Ukraine was ready, said Skibitsky. The Guardian spent New Year’s Eve on the border in Ukraine’s north-eastern Sumy region where the local defence forces expressed the same opinion.

“Of course, this could change if Belarus joins the war,” said Skibitsky. Belarus has a force of about 45,000.

But even if Russia has the numbers, said the US military expert Rob Lee, it does not automatically mean that its units will be effective – leadership, ammunition and training are problems right now in the Russian army.

It remains an open question as to how well Russia can integrate the newly mobilised forces as there has not been a comparative war in recent times, said Lee.

“If you mobilise 500,000 guys those problems don’t go away, you just kind of have similar issues with just more manpower,” said Lee, noting that less well-trained troops were better for defending territory than offensive operations.

To compensate for the heavy combat losses over 10 months of the war, Russia has also recruited tens of thousands of prisoners to fight as part of the private military group Wagner.

On Thursday, the first inmates drafted by Wagner received their promised pardons after fighting for six months in Ukraine.

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hmmokby on January 7th, 2023 at 10:44 UTC »

If Russia had the opportunity to make 500 thousand people fight under arms, a pro-Russian government would be sitting in Kyiv right now. Russia's failure to get what it wants in the war is not just some technological problems or what Ukraine has, Ukraine's collective resistance or support. Russia is far below even the Soviet Union 30 years ago in terms of logistics. In terms of planning, he plans even more primitively than an average NATO member in the 90s.

One of the things we see most in the war is that Russia was incredibly poorly planned in terms of logistics. It is true that Russia needs at least 350,000 soldiers supported by professional elite units, but as one of the most elite units at its disposal, they made incredible strategic mistakes, such as sending airborne brigades into the middle of the city, sending fuel-strapped tank battalions among enemy artillery. Russia realized too late that its plan for a three-day war was wrong. Ukraine got stronger, Russia lost its elite troops, etc. until they realized the mistake.

It is true that Russia's tank factories and factories producing artillery ammunition will have production difficulties, but Russia's access to ammunition and technology in some way may increase their production. The only two countries that can produce ammunition for a war that lasts 1 year can be the USA and China. Even these countries may not be able to keep their ammunition reserves constant with their standard production for a war exceeding 1 year.

The Russian air force may be the worst performing unit in the war. Ukraine, which has a flat land, may be the country with the most air defense system in Europe after Russia. Russia is trying to fly low against this country with unguided munitions like the average Nato air force in the 90s. Getting caught by Buk or even Manpads while dodging S300s.

Russia started to prefer the option of damaging the Ukrainian infrastructure and civilian settlements, which it did not prefer at the beginning of the war, as the failure increased. We can say that it continues to apply the wrong strategy at the wrong time. We can say that Ukraine continues to get stronger as it receives support. Apart from the fighter jets and the navy, Ukraine is stronger than at the beginning of the war. If Ukraine is helped to produce Buk and S300 ammunition, it will not lose power in air defense.

CommandoDude on January 7th, 2023 at 08:31 UTC »

If Russia does announce another mobilization within a few weeks, it would basically confirm that Ukraine is not overstating the apocalyptic casualties they must be taking.

WhatAreYouSaying05 on January 7th, 2023 at 06:45 UTC »

This is pretty embarrassing. It’s amazing how far Russia has fallen. They used to make America crap its pants, the only ones capable of rivaling the western superpower. Now they can’t even take over a former puppet state, and have to resort to extreme propaganda to prevent their citizens from toppling the government. I wonder how a nation could be so incompetent after such a successful rule