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Russian Mass Conscription May Be Adding to Failure in Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s mobilization of 300,000 reservists may just be a sign of failure, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said during an event today.

Putin has called up 300,000 Russian reserve soldiers for his unjust and unprovoked war on Ukraine. Putin also indirectly rattled his nuclear quiver.

His action follows his actions following a Ukrainian counteroffensive that pushed Russian forces from Kharkiv and liberated over 3,000 square miles of Ukrainian territory. In August, DOD Policy Chief Colin Kahl declared that the Russians have lost between 50,000 and 70,000 service members in its war on Ukraine.

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

These are not like reserve units within the United States. The reserve units of the U.S. military are trained and ready to move in short days or weeks, as needed.

In the Russian model they are those who have finished their service commitment and are now being asked 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 have revealed serious command and control problems and an inability to coordinate logistics since the invasion began on February 24. These problems have not been resolved and have led to the inability of Russian operations to seize Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in March, and to the Russian inability to make any headway in the Donbas region in April.

The move “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 maintain and equip the around 100,000 troops it has in Ukraine and maintain their current army, adding 300,000 troops to the mix is not going 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 stated.

The United States and its partners will continue to engage in an open and frank dialog with Ukrainian counterparts to learn about the country’s requirements. “I don’t see those conversations as being impacted by the situation ,” the general said. “I believe it’s crucial here to provide a more the context. If we look back in time a little to the beginning, Russia invaded Ukraine and attempted to take over the entirety of Ukraine.

“They failed in that strategic objective, and so they scaled down the scope of their operational objectives,” he continued. “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, the scheduling of sham referendums in captured areas of the Donbas or threats about attacking 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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