w/c 3rd October 2022
Much confusion ensued after Putin’s decree for partial mobilisation of reservists last week. Instances have been reported of mobilizing men without prior military experience, assigning servicemen to the wrong specializations, and unfairly mobilizing men with health conditions or large families. There have been contradictory statements and procedures demonstrating the systemic weaknesses of the Russian military establishment that have mirrored much of their invasion of Ukraine so far.
Russian officials continue to try to execute what is meant to be a reservist call-up which has turned into a confused undertaking somewhere between a conscription drive and the declaration of general mobilization. Even if the Kremlin does manage to mobilize 300,000 men, it is not clear that it will be able to guarantee logistic support or deliver the appropriate training and equipment to the newly-mobilized troops. Ukraine says that Russian forces have already committed mobilized men who apparently did not receive any training prior to their deployment around September 15th.
In any case there is no real belief that this new cohort of military personnel will make much difference in the short to medium term. In Ukraine the autumn mud is more or less upon us and the ability to manoeuvre off-road will become increasingly difficult. Then comes winter, which is harsh on men and equipment. Finally, these new recruits to the war will face a successful and buoyant enemy in the Ukrainians, who will be determined to maintain momentum and build on their recent successes.
As I said some seven months ago, Ukraine will win by not losing and Russia will lose by not winning. Sadly, this war looks like it has some way to run yet.