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Russian Mass Mobilization May Be Repeating Disaster in Ukraine


Russian President Vladimir V. Putin’s call for 300,000 reservists may just be reinforcing 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 in Ukraine. He also indirectly hit his nuclear weapon.

His action comes in the wake of his actions following a Ukrainian counteroffensive that drove Russian forces from Kharkiv and liberated over three hundred square miles of Ukrainian territory. In August, DOD Policy Chief Colin Kahl said 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.

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

Under the Russian model, these are people 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 on Ukraine reveal serious command and control problems and an inability to maintain logistics since the invasion began on February 24. These problems have not been solved and have led to the inability of Russian operations to capture the Ukrainian capital city of Kyiv in March and in the Russian inability to make significant progress 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 is unable to manage maintain and equip the around 100,000 troops it has in Ukraine and maintain their current army, adding 300,000 soldiers to their ranks isn’t going to make things 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 will continue to engage in an open and thorough conversation with Ukrainian counterparts to better understand the country’s requirements. “I don’t see those conversations as being impacted by the situation ,” the general said. “I believe it’s necessary to provide a more background. If we go back a more, Russia invaded Ukraine and attempted to take over all of Ukraine.

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