Putin announces "partial mobilization" of civilians for the war 6:18
Vladimir Putin can call up as many troops as he wants, but Russia has no way of getting those new troops the training and weapons they need to fight in Ukraine anytime soon.
With his invasion of Ukraine faltering, Russia's president announced on Wednesday the immediate "partial mobilization" of Russian citizens.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Russian television that the country will call up 300,000 reservists.
If they end up facing Ukrainian weapons at the front, they are likely to become the new victims of the invasion that Putin launched more than seven months ago and that has seen the Russian military fail in almost every aspect of modern warfare.
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"The Russian military is not currently equipped to quickly and effectively deploy 300,000 reservists," said Alex Lord, Europe and Eurasia specialist at strategic analysis firm Sibylline in London.
"Russia is already struggling to effectively equip its professional forces in Ukraine, following significant equipment losses during the war," Lord said.
The recent Ukrainian offensive, in which Kyiv has recaptured thousands of square meters of territory, has taken a significant toll.
The Institute for the Study of War said earlier this week that analysis by Western experts and Ukrainian intelligence found that Russia had lost 50% to 90% of its forces in some units due to that offensive, as well as large amounts of armor.
And that's on top of staggering equipment losses over the course of the war.
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The open-source intelligence website Oryx, using only losses confirmed by photographic or video evidence, has found that Russian forces have lost more than 6,300 vehicles, including 1,168 tanks, since the fighting began.
"In practice, they don't have enough modern equipment ... for so many new troops," said Jakub Janovsky, a military analyst who contributes to the Oryx blog.
JT Crump, CEO of Sibylline and a 20-year veteran of the British Army, said Russia is beginning to experience ammunition shortages in some calibers and is seeking sources for key components so it can repair or build replacements for weapons lost in the field. of battle.
Not only tanks and armored personnel carriers have been lost.
In many cases, Russian troops have not had the basics in Ukraine, including a clear definition of why they are risking their lives.
Despite Wednesday's mobilization order, Putin continues to call Ukraine a "special military operation," not a war.
Ukrainian soldiers know that they are fighting for their homeland.
Many Russian soldiers do not know why they are in Ukraine.
Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis pointed this out on Wednesday, calling Putin's partial mobilization announcement "a sign of desperation."
"I think people definitely don't want to go to a war they don't understand. ... People would be thrown in jail if they called Russia's war in Ukraine a war, and now all of a sudden they have to go fight her without being prepared, without weapons, without bulletproof vests, without helmets," he said.
But even if they had all the equipment, weapons and motivation they need, getting 300,000 soldiers into battle training quickly would be impossible, experts said.
"Currently, neither the additional officers nor the facilities necessary for mass mobilization exist in Russia," said Trent Telenko, a former quality control auditor for the US Defense Contract Management Agency, who has studied the Russian logistics.
The 2008 reforms, aimed at modernizing and professionalizing the Russian military, eliminated many of the logistical and command-and-control structures that once enabled former Soviet Union forces to rapidly train and equip large numbers of mobilized recruits.
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Lord, at Sibylline, said it would take at least three months to round up, train and deploy the Russian reservists.
"By that time we will be in the depths of the Ukrainian winter," Lord said.
“As such, we are unlikely to see an influx of reservists make any serious impact on the battlefield until spring 2023 and even then they are likely to be poorly trained and poorly equipped.”
Mark Hertling, a former US Army general and CNN analyst, said he had seen firsthand how poor Russian training could be during his visits to the country.
"It was horrible... rudimentary first aid, very few drills to conserve resources and... most importantly... horrible leadership," Hertling wrote on Twitter.
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"Putting 'rookies' on a front that has been hammered, has low morale and doesn't want to be (there) bodes further (Russian) disaster."
"It's amazing," Hertling tweeted.
Telenko said the newly mobilized troops will likely become the latest victims of Putin's war.
"Russia can recruit corps. It cannot train, equip, and most importantly lead them quickly."
"Untrained waves of 20 to 50 men with AK assault rifles and no radios will crumble at the first Ukrainian artillery or armor attack," he said.
War in Ukraine Vladimir Putin