President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War Two after a major battlefield reversal in Ukraine, an effort to reverse the military situation in what he sees is an East-West clash.
For now, the official mobilization is described as part of a steady draw of 300,000 reservists from across the world’s largest country over a period of several months, rather than a full call based on those what the Russian Defense Minister said. a large reserve force of 25 million men.
Theoretically, men and women between the ages of 18 and 60 could be called reserve under Russian law, depending on their rank.
Western military analysts have long argued that Russia is facing a severe shortage of manpower on the Ukrainian battlefield due to heavy casualties, while Russian nationalists have for months been calling for some form of mobilized to breathe new life into what they described as a stuttering campaign.
Ukraine launched its own mobilization program two days before the Russian invasion on February 24 and soon after declared martial law, banning men aged 18-60 from leaving the country. It is currently in its fourth round of fundraising. The exact number of reservists mobilized in Ukraine has been classified but official statements indicate at least 400,000.
Here are the key elements of Russia’s mobilization plan, some of which are laid out on the Kremlin’s website in a decree signed by Putin, and others that have been signed by Putin himself or his defense minister. he added.
* Order to immediately summon 300,000 reservists who have served in the Russian army and have combat experience or specialized military skills. Students or conscripts – young men serving a mandatory 12 months in the armed forces – will not be included.
* The army is looking for reservists who have done specific and specialized jobs in the army in the past, such as tank drivers, commandos and snipers. However, the exact list of aircraft that the country requires to be classified will show where Russia has a personnel gap.
* Critics have suggested that the wording of the mobilization ordinance and details of who will and will not be included appear to have been deliberately ambiguous to give authorities a degree of spaciousness when implementing it. There is no mention of the 300,000 figure in the decree as it has been published, but comes from an interview that Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu paid to state television. The Kremlin says that part of the decree, which it says contains references to 300,000 people mobilized in stages, was deliberately left unpublished. It is unclear whether other details were also intentionally hidden.
* The main task of the reservists, according to Shoigu, will be to strengthen the front line in Ukraine, which is now more than 1,000 kilometers (621 miles) long. “Of course what’s behind this line needs to be consolidated, the territory needs to be controlled,” Shoigu told state television.
* Reserve forces cannot be deployed to Ukraine immediately because they will first have to undergo refresher or new training and familiarize themselves with how Russia prosecutes what it calls “military operations” especially”. Western military analysts predict it will be several months before they act.
* Professional servicemen known as ‘kontraktniki’ currently serving in the armed forces will have their contracts automatically renewed until the government decides to end the temporary mobilization period. In other words, it’s become a lot harder for a professional soldier to quit.
* Only on the basis of age, valid health claims confirmed by the military medical committee or those who have been sentenced to prison by the court can be discharged from the army or the reserve force. Those working in the defense industry may defer service.
* A day earlier, Russia’s parliament passed a bill to harshly punish crimes such as desertion, damage to military property and failure to coordinate if they are committed in situations of military mobilization. fighting or fighting. According to a copy of the law, seen by Reuters, voluntarily surrendering would be a crime for Russian servicemen, punishable by 10 years in prison.
* Reservists will be financially incentivized and paid like full-time professional servicemen who earn far more than the average Russian salary. That could make the proposal more attractive to some men in provinces, where wages are traditionally lower than in big cities.
* Western military analysts have questioned whether Russia has enough military equipment and weapons after the losses in Ukraine, as well as enough experienced military trainers to prepare and deploy reserve troops properly or not. Moscow says yes.
* Western military analysts are divided over whether partial mobilization is too late to turn the tide of the war in Moscow’s favor. Most said they thought it was too late, but a few said it could help Russia in some ways, though not immediately and not conclusively.
* The mobilization announcement seems to have caused panic among some potential reserveers. According to ticketing data, one-way flights out of Russia were sold out on Wednesday, and unverified media reports about some men being turned away by Russian border guards.
* Jailed opposition politician Alexei Navalny predicted Wednesday that many men will try to dodge the draft.
* Activists from the anti-war coalition Vesna (Spring) have urged Russians to protest the mobilization announcement as early as Wednesday evening in city and town centers. Any such demonstration is likely to be disrupted by the authorities. Under Russian law, only protests sanctioned by the authorities in advance are considered legal.
* “This (mobilization) means that thousands of Russian men – their fathers, brothers and husbands – will be thrown into the meatmill of war,” Vesna said in a statement. “Now war will really come to every home and every family.”
* Small protests broke out in several Russian cities on Wednesday.
(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from an aggregated feed.)