Despite recently declaring its partial mobilization of troops complete, the Russian military is reportedly continuing to “secretly” mobilize soldiers for the war in Ukraine as a new conscription begins.
The Russian Defense Ministry said the troop mobilization announced by Russian President Vladimir Putin on September 24 was successfully completed on Monday. Up to 300,000 reservists were thought to have been drafted into the war, although a definitive figure has not been released by the Russian government.
Regular semi-annual conscription began on Tuesday, with Russia’s Defense Ministry earlier announcing up to 120,000 new soldiers would be drafted. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has claimed that none of the conscripts will be deployed to fight in Ukraine.
However, a report released on Tuesday by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) says Russian media reports that mobilization is continuing in secret as the conscription cycle begins.
“Numerous Russian sources reported that Russian recruiting officers continue to mobilize men, despite Shoigu’s earlier announcements of the completion of a partial mobilization,” the ISW report reads. “Local Russian media reported cases of men receiving mobilization notices in Tyumen and St. Petersburg on October 31.”
The Russian Central Military District (CMD) has reportedly told journalists from a Russian outlet that mobilization processes across Russia will continue until [Putin] signs a decree ending the mobilization period,” it said.
The report goes on to say that Ukrainians in Melitopol and Mariupol claim that the Russian occupation authorities “continue to force Ukrainians into volunteer battalions and territorial defense units.”
An ISW assessment released last week said Ukrainians in occupied territories would soon be forced to take Russian citizenship “partly to legalize the forced mobilization of Ukrainian civilians” as part of the new conscription cycle.
Some Russians expressed concern the draft would go ahead after a Kremlin spokesman said on Tuesday that Putin’s government would refuse to issue a formal decree to end the mobilization, according to Reuters.
“A decree is not required,” Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov reportedly said. “The legal department of the presidential administration is finished.”
“Partial mobilization is complete,” he added. “The relevant telegrams have been sent by the Department of Defense to the military recruiting offices to stop sending out draft papers.”
Vladimir Budaev of the US-based pro-democracy group Free Buryatia said news week last week that he believed troop mobilization is unlikely to end soon due to mounting Russian troop losses.
“It is [mobilization] actually don’t stop,” said Budaev. “We don’t know when the mobilization will stop – probably never. Putin definitely needs more than 300,000 soldiers. The Russian army has already suffered many casualties at the hands of mobilized people.”
news week has asked the Russian Ministry of Defense and ISW for comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/russia-covertly-mobilizing-troops-new-conscription-drive-begins-isw-1756202 Russia ‘hiddenly’ mobilizes troops as new conscription campaigns begin: ISW