Ukrainian-Russian War: Moscow Admits Mobilization Mistakes
The Kremlin has admitted mistakes made in its campaign to mobilize Russian reserves to fight in Ukraine, amid growing public opposition.
“There were cases where the decree was violated,” said a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, adding that “all mistakes will be corrected.”
According to some reports, men with no military experience – or too old or disabled – were called up.
Last week’s mobilization decision has sparked widespread protests.
On September 21, President Putin announced what he called a partial mobilization.
Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu later said 300,000 reservists would be called up.
However, Russian opposition media have stated that up to one million people could be summoned, suggesting that an alleged paragraph about the exact amount of reserves needed has been omitted (classified) from the published version of the decree. Kremlin site.
According to Western and Ukrainian military experts, Putin’s decision to call up reservists shows that Russian forces are failing badly on the battlefield in Ukraine, more than seven months after Moscow launched its invasion.
Since the announcement of the mobilization, more than 2,000 people have been arrested during demonstrations across Russia.
At a news briefing on Monday, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, acknowledged a mistake had been made.
He said that in some areas “governors are actively working to improve the situation.”
Mr Peskov also said he was not aware of any decision to close Russia’s borders and impose martial law in the country.
Media had previously suggested this could be done to prevent potential candidates from fleeing abroad.
Since the announcement of the mobilization, many young Russians have tried to leave the country.
Satellite images show long lines of Russian cars on the border with Georgia.
In the latest sign of escalating public protests, a man seriously injured an army recruiting officer in the Siberian city of Ust-llimsk on Monday.
Footage circulating on social media shows the assailant approaching the officer and shooting him.
The occupants of the building then appeared to panic, screaming and running after being told to flee by the shooter.
Over the weekend, residents of the Russian republic of Dagestan in the North Caucasus clashed with police over the mobilization campaign.
More than 100 people were arrested during protests in the regional capital, Makhachkala, said OVD-Info, Russia’s independent human rights watchdog.
A number of arson attacks were also reported at recruitment centers and other administrative buildings across Russia.
In last week’s mobilization announcement, Putin did not specify how many reservists would be called up.
But speaking immediately after the president, Shoigu said 300,000 reservists – people with military experience and needing special skills – would be drafted.
The minister said that was just over 1% of Russia’s 25 million potential reserves. The process will take several months.
Certain age and disability limits will apply, according to the mobilization decision. He did not provide further details. It is thought that men between the ages of 18 and 60 – and in some cases even older – may be mobilized.
Some Russian commentators immediately cast doubt on the president’s and defense minister’s promise that mobilization would be limited.
They pointed out that the decree made no mention of exceptions, such as a ban on recruiting students or conscription.
They suggested that the regional head decide who to call upon to fulfill the quota.
On September 24, Putin issued a new decree expressly stipulating that students would be barred from military service.
Before launching its invasion on February 24, Russia had amassed some 190,000 troops along the Ukrainian border.