Expect a long Ukraine War as Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced that 300,000 more soldiers would be mobilized. He also darkly reminded Western countries that he has many weapons to respond to NATO’s “nuclear Blackmail.”
Before announcing his country’s plans to annexe Russian-occupied Ukraine, he said that it was not a bluff.
After an overnight delay, Putin delivered the address Wednesday morning on Russian state television.
Putin’s mobilization plans are more complex than what is obvious.
According to military experts, it won’t be simple or quick to call up so many reservists because Russia doesn’t actually have one.
RAND’s 2019 study found that Russia had not paid enough attention to creating an effective, substantial active reserve system that could be required immediately in the event of major war. RAND estimates that Russia currently has an effective reserve of between 4,000 and 5,000 men.
In the modernization of the military, all equipment from the country’s past army reserves units was disbanded between 2008 and 2010.
This doesn’t necessarily mean Russia won’t recruit, train, organize and arm 300,000. However, it won’t happen quickly or easily.
Oliver Alexander, a Foreign Affairs analyst, stated that one problem is “effectively preparing and equipping these reserveists.” Russia has already had problems with its professional armed forces.
There’s also the speed issue. Dara Massicot, writing in August, weeks before Kyiv’s spectacular counteroffensive in Kharkiv, stated that “Even if all levers are pulled by the Kremlin declaring a general mobilisation to call up enough armored equipment, trained personnel, this process would still take some time.”
— Shashank Joshi (@shashj) September 21, 2022
War in Mobilization Ukraine
This is because Russia has about 80% of its combat power in Ukraine and wartime losses to its NCO corps, so the Russian army will have to train more trainers before 300,000. men can be mobilized.
Putin just last month ordered an increase of 137,000 troops in the Russian military. As I explained to you, Putin’s order meant only that the Russian military would be authorized to locate another 137,000 troops “Starting next Year.” Russia has a long-standing problem with draft dodgers. Putin’s “special Military Operation” will not help.
Putin wants to raise his military’s size by almost 50%. This is a difficult task.
Due to sanctions and losses, it will be difficult to equip all these troops, with the exception of older equipment with doubtful military effectiveness.
Side note: Putin’s order is already attracting some passive resistance. CNBC reports that one-way flights from Russia are selling fast after President Vladimir Putin ordered immediate mobilization of 300,000. Moscow has just instructed airlines to stop selling tickets for Russian men between 18 and 65 years old. This could mean that Putin may be considering drafting men over 65.
Russia’s national anthem will be replaced by The Marvelette’s “Destination Everywhere” if this trend continues.
I kid, I kid.
It’s one thing for a commander to announce the mobilization 300,000 reservists. But it’s another when they don’t exist on paper. It takes a lot of effort to make them a fighting force.
If Putin doesn’t have the time, he can continue rushing badly-trained, poorly-led and poorly-equipped men to the front line in hastily assembled units.
He did the same with the 3rd Army Corps, which he established last month after it was disintegrated in Kharkiv.
Moscow has no new options in the near future, but neither Militarily nor any other choice.
This means that Putin’s announcement about Ukraine War was less about the military expansion and more about politics in the short- to medium-term.
This could be Putin’s way out of his madness.
If Kherson or Donbas somehow become part of Mother Russia through some phony referendum then he can claim that nukes would be used in defense. This is a significant upping in stakes that could test the will of Western powers to keep Ukraine occupied.