Russia’s Mass Conscription May Be Repeating Failure


Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s decision to mobilize 300,000 reservists could be a sign of the failure, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during an announcement today.

Putin has summoned up 300,000 Russian reservists for his unjust and unprovoked war on Ukraine. He also indirectly rattled his nuclear quiver.

His action follows an Ukrainian counteroffensive that drove Russian forces out of Kharkiv and freed more than 3,000 sq km of Ukrainian territory. In August, DOD Policy Chief Colin Kahl stated that the Russians have lost between 100,000 and 70,000 military personnel in the war against Ukraine.

Putin’s mobilisation “would primarily be reservists or members of the Russian military that had retired,” Ryder stated.

They are not like reserve formations within the United States. The reserve units in the U.S. military are trained and ready to move within hours, weeks or days, if required.

In the Russian model they are those who have completed their military commitment and are being called to return. “It’s our assessment that it would take time for Russia to train, prepare and equip these forces,” Ryder said.

Russian actions in the war against Ukraine indicate severe command and control problems and an inability to coordinate logistics since the invasion began on February 24. These issues have not been solved and have contributed to the failure of Russian operations to take Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital Kyiv in March and the Russian inability to make much headway in the Donbas region in April.

The mobilisation “may address a manpower issue for Russia,” Ryder said. “What’s not clear is whether or not it could significantly address the command and control, the logistics, the sustainment and importantly, the morale issues that we’ve seen Russian forces in Ukraine experience.”

If Russia cannot manage sustain and equip approximately 100,000 troops they have in Ukraine adding 300,000 additional troops is not likely to make the situation better. “If you are already having significant challenges and haven’t addressed some of those systemic strategic issues that make any large military force capable, there’s nothing to indicate that it’s going to get any easier by adding more variables to the equation,” Ryder said.

The United States and its partners are going to continue a very open and rigorous conversation with Ukrainian counterparts to better understand the needs of the country. “I don’t see those conversations as being impacted by the situation ,” the general said. “I believe it’s crucial here to provide a some context. If we go back in time a to the beginning, Russia invaded Ukraine and attempted to annex the entirety of Ukraine.

“They failed in that strategic objective, and so they scaled down the scope of their operational objectives,” he said. “Even those aren’t going well due to Ukraine’s counter offensive and the issues that I’ve highlighted in terms of logistics and sustainment.”

Putin making the announcement on mobilization, scheduling sham referenda in the areas that have been taken from the Donbas or threats about attacking the territory, “it doesn’t change the operational facts on the ground, which are that the Ukrainians will continue to fight for their country,” Ryder said. “The Russian military is dealing with some significant challenges on the ground and the international community will stand behind Ukraine as they fight to defend their country from an invasion.”

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