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Putin’s ‘Partial Mobilization’ for Ukraine War Could Be a Disaster

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Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting on Friday that the partial mobilization of Russian troops is now complete, with hundreds of thousands of Russian reservists now recruited and in the process of being deployed to Ukraine.

Ukraine Partial Mobilization: A Bad Idea?

In the meeting, Shoigu confirmed that Russia’s biggest mobilization since the second world war was now over, with more than a quarter of those recruited already deployed to the battlefield in Ukraine.

“The task set by you of mobilizing 300,000 people has been completed,” Shoigu said. “No further measures are planned.”

According to the Russian official, those who have not already been deployed to Ukraine are still undergoing training.

In the same meeting, the Russian president thanked the soldiers headed to Ukraine for their dedication and patriotism and argued that their service will help “defend” Russia. 

Putin also appeared to acknowledge that mistakes were made in the early days of the recruitment process but claimed that all problems have since been resolved. The Russian president blamed the fact that Russia has not carried out such a huge mobilization in so long on the teething troubles. 

It’s unclear what specific problems Putin was referring to, but war analysts from all over the world have recognized a number of very serious problems for the Russian military and the troops being deployed to Ukraine. Among them is the issue of training – something that some analysts have claimed is practically non-existent for many of the troops being rushed to the frontline. 

Is the Training Sufficient?

In September, British intelligence suggested that many Russian troops sent to Ukraine had undergone only “low-level initial training.” To make matters worse, the intelligence also suggested that Russia was struggling to find military commanders to conduct the training given that so many had already been deployed to Ukraine and many died in combat.

“The lack of military trainers, and the haste with which Russia has started the mobilization, suggests that many of the drafted troops will deploy to the front line with minimal relevant preparation,” an update from the British Ministry of Defence reads.

Video footage also emerged this month which showed Russian troops on the frontline complaining about the lack of food and training.

“No bullets, no grenades, no pouches, no food, no water,” one soldier says in the video. “It’s a f*cking mess!”


Russian T-90M tank. Image Credit: Twitter.

The soldiers identified themselves as serving in the 423rd Regiment of the 4th Guards Kantemirovskaya Tank Division.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.