Experts say that Vladimir Putin's new troop mobilization will prolong war, but not alter balance on the ground.

After his troops had lost large swathes of territory early in the war, Putin called up 300,000 reservists. This is more than the almost 200,000 who were mobilized to invade Ukraine in February.

 

Experts from the West predicted Wednesday that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin’s new troop mobilization will prolong the war, but not alter the balance on ground. They also warned against undermining his renewed nuclear threat.

After his troops had lost large swathes of territory early in the war, Putin called up 300,000.

Moscow had already signaled its determination to preserve occupied territories in eastern, and southern Ukraine through holding local referendums that would allow them to be absorbed into Russia.

Analysts said that it was a risky decision for Putin, given the increased resistance in Russia to the war and the structure of military mobilization that has declined over the past decade.

Dara Massicot, Rand Corp’s Russia defense specialist who studied the mobilization process, stated that “they will not be in a position to do this well.”

They will make people up and send them to the front with poor leadership, old training and equipment that is in worse condition than active duty forces. And they’ll send them back piecemeal, because they don’t have the time.

Front lines must be strengthened

Michael Kofman is a defense specialist at The Center for a New American Security in Washington. He cautioned against dismissing this effort.

It will allow Moscow to fortify the battle lines currently under heavy pressure from Ukrainian fighters supported by Western arms.

Kofman stated Wednesday that it was clear that the Russian military is vulnerable heading into winter and will look even more dangerous coming into 2023.

“So it might extend the Russian capability to sustain this war but not change its overall trajectory or outcome.

Untrained troops can be swapped for tired ones

Putin’s challenge lies in creating a force that can replace him with the right training, equipment, and motivation.

It’s not enough to train these reservists. It is going to be a questionable quality training. Who will lead them? Rob Lee, a Senior Fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute, said that all these things remain open to question.

He stated that “this war will be increasingly fought on the Ukrainian side by volunteers who are motivated… and we’re going see a greater share of people on the Russian side who don’t want to be there.”

Mick Ryan, an Australian retired general and defense analyst, said that Putin still wants “prolonging the war and outwaiting western nations.”

He stated on Twitter that combat performance has declined from the 3-4-6 four-month mark and that this was an exhausted force that needs rotation.

He stated that the numbers being called up were not enough to make a decisive contribution or alter the outcome of war. It is more about rotations and replacements.

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