Russian President Vladimir Putin‘s plan to mobilize hundreds of thousands of reservists is already experiencing “serious and systemic problems” and will not not even produce “low quality” fighters unless issues are addressed, according to a think tank.
Putin ordered the partial mobilization of 300,000 Russians with military training, including those who have retired, to be sent to the frontline amid a series of setbacks in the country’s war with Ukraine.
The move to call up military reservists into the country’s armed forces for the first time since World War II prompted widespread protests in Russian cities, resulting in mass arrests.
In their latest assessment of Moscow’s military tactics, the U.S. based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said the attempt to mobilize people to help with the Ukraine invasion is already failing.
“The Russian mobilization system is struggling to execute the task Russian President Vladimir Putin set and will likely fail to produce mobilized reserve forces even of the low quality that Putin’s plans would have generated unless the Kremlin can rapidly fix fundamental and systemic problems,” the ISW said.
The think tank also cited unconfirmed reports that the Kremlin may actually be hoping to mobilize 1.2 million reservists by November 10, instead of the 300,000 which had been publicly announced.
There are also reports on social media and from Russian milbloggers—military personnel writing blog posts—that older men, students, and civilians with no prior military experience are also receiving illegal mobilization notices to serve.
“Significant available information suggests that this mobilization campaign (the first in post-Soviet Russia) is overwhelming an ineffective and unmotivated bureaucratic system and could fail to generate the much-needed combat-ready reserve force in a short time or at all,” the group added.
“Russian partial mobilization efforts are suffering from serious and systemic problems in their first days, generating popular resentment and setting conditions to produce a mobilized reserve force incapable of accomplishing the tasks Russian President Vladimir Putin has set for it.”
The U.S. Department of Defense also said that Putin’s mobilization attempts “may just be reinforcing failure” and bringing in an additional 300,000 fighters may not help their war effort at all.
In a press conference on Wednesday, Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Russian reservists are more likely to be retired, and therefore not trained or prepared to be sent to battle on the front lines short notice.
“It’s our assessment that it would take time for Russia to train, prepare and equip these forces,” Ryder said.
“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.”
Newsweek has contacted Russia’s Ministry of Defense for comment.
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