Partial mobilization of reserves, the first in his country since World War IIannounced the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, during his speech today, Wednesday, in order to support the military campaign in Ukraine.
“Only citizens who are currently in the reserve and mainly those who served in the Armed Forces, have specific military specialties and relevant experience will be subject to conscription,” he noted, thus excluding ordinary reservists without training and experience or students. Not at all paradoxical. The move will certainly cause reactions in the Russian society which does not know exactly what is happening on the front, has no perception of the defeats of the Russian army in Ukraine and perhaps does not understand what is the reason for the mobilization.
Will Putin’s crowns convince them that the West threatens Russia? Even so there will be big reactions.
But why did Putin resort to conscription? The answer given by foreign analysts is as follows: It is the heavy losses of Russian forces, but combined with the revelation that the Russian army, despite its theoretical size and its good equipment, is an obsolete military machine which does not meet the modern needs of war. Bad training, bad leadership and most of all… no motivation for the soldiers to fight.
Jack Watling: Only 100 well-trained Russian pilots in all of Ukraine…
Jack Watling is a professor specializing in “ground warfare” at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI).
As he notes in the Guardian, one of the biggest problems of the Russian military is leadership and training. Military commanders have dictatorial powers and enforce their orders through fear.
Corruption is endemic and the political authorities even tolerate it, so that military commanders have the fear of criminal sanctions. As corruption causes chaos in the organization of the Russian army.
Fear of punishment has created a perception that leads soldiers and officers to obey orders, even when they make no sense.
For example. Russian artillery follow instructions for shelling targets in the order they receive orders. Even when information from counterintelligence indicates that a target has moved, the artillery continues firing in the order it was instructed… allowing the targets to move again.
Bad leadership creates problems with staff. Professional soldiers have no career prospects, so Russian generals leave operations to the reservists.
Nevertheless with an aging population, Russia has a problem with the number of reservists, while the low standard of living in most of Russia means that reservists are not familiar with modern technology. Also, because there is no strong leadership and no clear ideology, soldiers are not strongly motivated to fight, do not cooperate with each other, and do not risk their lives for their colleagues.
Thus, the Russian army does not have a strong strike force, and the problem has become worse in recent months, as casualties are high. Ukraine at this point has a big advantage.
But the biggest shortcoming of the Russian army is training. For example, at the beginning of the war there were in the ranks of the Air Force less than 100 well-trained pilots on the Ukrainian front, although Russia had deployed over 317 warplanes in the region. Second, the training the Russian military has is limited in scope. That is, they lack flexibility, they have no understanding of what is happening on the wider front and they cannot cover each other’s needs.
Third, the training takes place inside the camps and as the units are in Ukraine, there is no way to properly train before the soldiers are sent to the front line. Unlike Ukrainians who are educated in Great Britain and have a better education.
David Ax: The Russians are losing a battalion a day
David Ax wrote in Forbes about the huge losses suffered by the Russian army and which explains the need for even a partial conscription
The Russian army is losing at least a battalion a day as a two-pronged Ukrainian counteroffensive erases Moscow’s territorial gains in eastern and southern Ukraine. In numbers, this means hundreds of deaths and dozens of vehicle wrecks every day: Devastating losses for Russia, since its army barely maintained more than 100 battalions in Ukraine, before the Ukrainian counteroffensive began in the south on August 30 and in the east of the country eight days later.
In less than two weeks of fierce fighting, Ukrainians have destroyed, severely damaged or seized 1,200 Russian tanks and combat vehicles, trucks, helicopters, warplanes and drones, according to the Ukrainian General Staff of the Army. Independent analysts, scouring social media for photos and videos, have confirmed around 400 incidents.
According to Kiev officials, as of August 29, approximately 5,500 Russian soldiers have been killed in Ukraine. The Ukrainians may be exaggerating the death toll, but the most recent US estimate of Russian casualties was very close to the Ukrainians.
In particular, Russian casualties in Ukraine have increased by 10% in about 10 days – in a war that already counts 200 days of fighting. The rate at which Russian soldiers are killed and Russian military vehicles destroyed has tripled since the latest wave of Ukrainian counterattacks.
The bad thing, however, for the Russians – who are faltering defensively in the south, while in the east they are abandoning their positions – is that they did not manage to inflict significant losses on the attacking Ukrainian brigades. In the worst case scenario, the Ukrainians have lost 1/10 of their troops and vehicles since August 30th.
And yet, there is worse for the Russians. 50% of the vehicles that the Russians have lost are now in the hands of the Ukrainians. Over the past 10 days, the Ukrainian military has seized enough Russian tanks and combat vehicles to equip an entire brigade. In short, the Ukrainian army has more vehicles today than when it started to fight back.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces are holding so many Russian prisoners of war – possibly thousands – that they are struggling to accommodate them. “We have nowhere to keep all these prisoners,” Oleksii Arestovich, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, pointed out on Friday.
Russian losses are reshaping developments on the battlefield. The Russians already lacked adequately trained soldiers and modern equipment, before Ukrainians began sweeping northeastern Ukraine last week, liberating dozens of settlements across thousands of square kilometers. So far, the advance of Ukrainian forces in the south has not been as dynamic.
The unpleasant truth for the Kremlin is that it had not had time to make up for the losses of the spring, when the Ukrainians launched their latest counteroffensive, blocking Moscow’s effort to rebuild its forces in Ukraine.
The Russians lost thousands of soldiers and tanks
Since the start of the invasion in late February, the Russians have lost thousands of soldiers and hundreds of tanks trying to encircle Kyiv. Over the summer, the Kremlin launched a nationwide recruitment drive, lifting age limits for recruits and offering hefty pay in a desperate bid to create dozens of new battalions.
And the Kremlin may not have achieved its goals, but at least it managed to assemble the new 3rd Army Corps with 10,000 – or more – troops and hundreds of T-80 and T-90 tanks and BMP-3 vehicles. The 3rd Army Corps conducted combat operations in northeastern Ukraine last week and immediately suffered heavy casualties – a development that effectively halted the Kremlin’s “Operation Reconstruction”.
Now the Russian army is faltering in Ukraine. Instead, Ukrainian forces have the momentum and, in some critical areas, the numerical and equipment advantage. Since there is no nationwide mobilization – wrote David Ax a few days ago, before Putin was forced to proceed with mobilization –move that could cause a political crisisRussia has exhausted its “easy” sources of new troops and equipment.
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