Vladimir Putin of Russia stood alone with him during Russia’s Christmas celebrations this weekend at a Kremlin church, looking bored and dead inside — while military generals were said to be working in the rear. school to prepare to summon another 500,000 citizens to die for him.
For weeks, Russian officials have reassured an increasingly worried public that the Kremlin has no plans to draft new cannon fodder for the fledglings. war against Ukraine.
However, as with so many other statements by the Kremlin, there are growing signs that those promises are meaningless.
Ukrainian intelligence this weekend warned that Russian military officials plan to call up 500,000 more citizens by mid-January, shortly after the Tet holiday ends.
The Main Intelligence Service of the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine said that thousands of people are expected to be rounded up in major cities such as Moscow and St. Petersburg.
Estonian intelligence made a similar prediction on Friday, citing information on thousands of summonses printed in several regions of Russia, local media reported. report.
And even Russian soldiers on the battlefield seem to be buzzing about Putin’s upcoming nationwide body collection.
“There are rumors – from various sources – that there will be a general mobilization,” a man identified as a Russian soldier said in an interview. sound was shared by Ukrainian intelligence this week from a intercepted phone conversation.
“It is ridiculous. [It will be] either before the new year or immediately after. And then supposedly we’re going to attack the damn thing. We are expecting an attack from [the Ukrainians] and we’ll attack too,” said the unnamed soldier, before admitting: “It’s a complete mockery.”
His friend responded by venting his frustration at the current army lineup, which he said, most of them “were drunk”.
“We will not keep these [defense] he said, noting that his squadron had only 50 men to confront hundreds of Ukrainian soldiers.
“You know the most interesting thing? The general said, ‘They will see that we are attacking and flee.’ Damn it! He said, before dropping another bomb: that two Russian battalions — including Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov’s Akhmat special forces unit — had surrendered their positions on the front lines by walking away.
“Yes, we shed our blood in vain,” he grumbled to his friend.
It is not clear where the soldiers are believed to be in Ukraine, or when exactly the call took place.
Even as the number of dead and depressed Russian troops increases at new rates, Putin seems determined to make bloodshed on the battlefield a new cultural norm for the country. In his annual New Year’s address to the nation, the Russian leader broke with his traditional festive backdrop this year to give an aggressive speech surrounded by men and women. wear military uniform.
And while the Kremlin may be increasingly losing the support of those who witnessed first-hand the sloppy results of Putin’s first “partial mobilization” – some families of immigrants The military in the Samara region were the latest to introduce the embargo. video complaints to the government this weekend to criticize the war—the Russian president seems to be filling the void with help from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Vladimir Legoyda, a representative of the church, told Russia RIA Novosti on Saturday that the church was working with the military to increase the number of priests sent to the front lines.
The church, he said, has “never attached itself” to pacifism — which he considers more of a “political ideology” than a spiritual conception.
And if thousands more are sent to kill and kill, that seems fine by Russia’s leading holy men, because, as Legoyda notes, “A warrior’s sacrifice is always received the blessing of the church.”