Putin may be ready to announce second mobilization – CNBC

Putin may be ready to announce second mobilization – CNBC

Russian President Vladimir Putin poses as he delivers a New Year’s address to the nation at the headquarters of the Southern Military District in Rostov-on-Don December 31, 2022.

Mikhail Klimentyev | AFP | Getty Images

Russian President Vladimir Putin may be ready to announce another round of mobilizations as Russia seeks to strengthen its forces in Ukraine, analysts believe.

“Putin could announce a second wave of mobilization to expand his army in the coming days – possibly as early as January 18,” analysts at the Institute for War Studies said Tuesday.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov announced on Tuesday that Putin would deliver a speech in his hometown of St. Petersburg on Wednesday to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the Soviet troops breaking the Nazi siege of Leningrad. This could be an appropriate date to announce such a mobilization, observers noted.

“Putin likes to use symbolic dates to address the Russian people, and some Russian pro-war milbloggers have noted that he will use this opportunity to either declare mobilization or war with Ukraine,” the ISW said in her daily analysis of the Ukraine war.

Russia has repeatedly insisted it will not launch a second wave of mobilizations after 300,000 troops were called up for an initial partial call-up of reservists last September. The move sparked consternation in Russia and prompted many of those eligible to draft to leave the country.

With the onset of winter, fears of another possible mobilization grew. Putin said in December that he saw no need for a second draft, noting that half of the men drafted had already been deployed in Ukraine, while the others were in training centers.

“Under these conditions, it just doesn’t make sense to talk about additional mobilization measures,” he said at the time.

Last Friday, Ukraine’s Defense Ministry officials said they believed preparations for a second wave of mobilization were underway and suspected Russia was targeting an army of two million people.

“Ukraine’s military intelligence does not rule out that the leadership of Russia will announce another wave of mobilizations in the coming days,” intelligence officials said in a statement, adding that another 500,000 Russians will be called up to “create strategic reserves.” “

“Preparations for the announcement of the next wave of mobilizations in Russia are already actively underway. At the legislative level, changes are being made to the laws of the Russian Federation regulating mobilization. Active training of training centers is also being carried out,” the intelligence officials added .

Army wants to expand

Over the winter, the war in Ukraine resembled a conflict of attrition, particularly in eastern Ukraine, where fighting has intensified over Bakhmut – the next key Russian target after hostilities against nearby Soledar.

Daily losses of Ukrainian and Russian forces are difficult to determine independently.

Both sides are expected to renew their counteroffensives in the spring, fueling expectations that Russia will muster more manpower.

A Ukrainian tank drives on a road near Bakhmut in the Donetsk region on December 2, 2022 amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Anatoly Stepanov | AFP | Getty Images

Moscow has made no secret of expanding its armed forces in the coming years. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu presented proposals in December to increase military personnel from the current 1.1 million to 1.5 million by 2026.

On Tuesday, Shoigu laid out broader plans for reforming and restructuring the army over the next few years, saying, “Only by strengthening the key structural components of the armed forces is it possible to ensure the state’s military security and protect new units and critical facilities.” of the Russian Federation,” Portal reported.

Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov said later Tuesday that the changes were necessary because of the “proxy war” the West was waging against Russia in Ukraine.

Proxy engagement, he said, “includes elements of indirect involvement in hostilities and elements of economic, financial and legal warfare, goes beyond the realm of law, and so on.”

“The security of our country must be unconditionally guaranteed, and in this case the Department of Defense is fulfilling its role,” Peskov said in an op-ed translated by NBC.

Peskov dismissed the idea of ​​further mobilization, adding that “the issue is constantly being artificially activated both from abroad and at home.