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Can Putin’s enlistment change the outcome of the war? Analysts say no

Can Putin’s enlistment change the outcome of the war? Analysts say no
Can Putin’s enlistment change the outcome of the war? Analysts say no

Vladimir Putin’s decision to call up 300,000 reservists to bolster Russian forces in Ukraine will likely prolong the war but will not affect its outcome, military analysts say.

However, the move could buy the Russian president valuable time for a broader strategy, such as worsening Europe’s energy crisis, while his nuclear threats are aimed at undermining the West’s continued military and economic support for Ukraine.

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At the same time, many questions remain unanswered about Putin’s decision to declare partial conscription… The goals of the conscription, the number of conscripts, the speed of their development, the quality of their training are some of them. But, as Bloomberg analysts note, this mobilization will mostly serve to replace exhausted Russian soldiers with new ones and will hardly put Kiev’s forces on the defensive again.

Putin’s threats are aimed at scaring the West

Russia has lost, according to Western estimates, some 80,000 soldiers – dead or wounded – and its forces have been there for seven months. “I’m not sure if that [η κίνηση του Πούτιν] constitutes escalation, but extends the time it will take Ukraine to win” says Igor Lefchenko of the Kyiv-based think tank New Geopolitics.

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One of Putin’s few strategic successes was that he was able to slow the supply of Western weapons to Ukraine by threatening to escalate and provoke retaliation from Russia, Lefchenko says.

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If Ukraine had at its disposal American ATACMS long-range multiple missile launchers, aircraft and Abrams tanks, it could regain its occupied territories in a few weeks, but these systems are not delivered “as a direct result of the strategic thinking of Russian politicians and military ” he notes, adding that Putin’s latest nuclear threats are intensifying hesitation in the US.

The attitude of Ukraine’s allies

The US continues to focus on open and clear talks with Ukraine and its other allies about Kiev’s needs, including more medium- and long-range weapons systems, according to Pentagon spokesman Brigadier General Patrick Ryder.

“I don’t see these discussions being affected by this situation,” he added, referring to Putin’s latest moves and the secession referendums that began today in occupied Ukrainian territories with the aim of annexing them.

The US will study “a variety of possibilities in the coming days”he added, in response to a question about the possible deployment of Abrams tanks to Kyiv.

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Russian soldiers in Kherson, Ukraine / File photo: AP Photo

For now, there is no change in attitude among Ukraine’s allies regarding support for its counteroffensive, a European official told Bloomberg, but left open the possibility that this could change.

Analysts doubt the success of the mobilization announced by Putin

Military analysts outside Ukraine doubt whether the partial mobilization announced by Putin will be able to change the course of the war on the front lines.

According to retired Russian general and current analyst at the Institute for American-Canadian Studies in Moscow, Pavel Zolotarev, “300,000 additional troops is not enough for Russia to make progress in Ukraine. Just enough to stop the Ukrainian offensive and consolidate control over territory now controlled by Russian forces.” 

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For the American think tank “Institute for the Study of War”, which lists daily assessments of the course of the conflicts in Ukraine, Putin’s partial mobilization “unlikely to provide effective soldiers” or curb Ukraine’s ability to regain territory in the winter as it continues its counteroffensive, but at a reduced pace.

For Michael Hoffman, an expert on Putin’s Russian Armed Forces at the Washington-based think tank CNA, the 300,000-man enlistment goal is probably “theoretical” and Russian commanders will have little choice in how to use the troops. :

  • One is to replenish Russian Tactical Battlegroups in Ukraine, many of which are at only 40% to 50% of their strength. Except that the training of reservists takes place within the units, under the supervision of a few, exhausted officers, who will be called from the fronts.
  • The second option is to create large, lightly armed motorized units to hold the line of defense.
  • The third option is to create capable units to replace exhausted soldiers at the fronts, but this requires a lot of time and training to reach the desired level.

“The implications of this are that Putin’s Russia can try to stem the deterioration in its military and try to address the quantitative aspect of force. But they are unable to improve the quality, because they have already used up their best equipment, their best officers, their best ammunition, and the question of broken morale will be permanent.”

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The article is in Greek

Tags: Putins enlistment change outcome war Analysts

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