Russian President Vladimir Putin will call up hundreds of thousands of additional troops to continue trying to invade Ukraine this month — a move that will be done quietly.
The muted mobilization was reported by Russian independent outlet Volya last week, citing sources in the Russian military’s General Staff.
“The Ministry of Defense needs to recruit about 700,000 more people for the war by February,” the outlet reported, adding, “[O]fficials, politicians and generals will publicly assert that there is no mobilization.”
That figure is more than twice the size of the draft that sparked protests and an exodus of military-aged men this fall when Putin sought 300,000 more troops to reinforce the Ukrainian battle lines.
That mobilization was widely regarded as a failure, with students and the elderly — who were supposedly exempt — getting caught up in the draft. Hundreds of thousands of Russians fled the country to avoid being sent to Ukraine.
Those who were sent to fight reportedly lacked both the training and equipment to effectively do so.
“The mobilization activities of September-October showed the military that they prepared for mobilization about as well as for the invasion of Ukraine,” Volya reported wryly.
As a result, the outlet reported, the Kremlin has spent the past two months updating its database of eligible draftees.
That list reportedly includes veterans and those with medical training — but also so-called “unreliable citizens,” meaning those who have protested the war, who owe a debt or child support, or “people with outstanding convictions.”
“According to sources [in the General Staff,] they will try to carry out mobilization activities more quietly than they did in the fall, so as not to attract too much attention from the population,” Volya reported.
Earlier this month, Ukrainian intelligence said it believed the Kremlin would be calling up 500,000 troops in anticipation of spring and summer fighting.
Putin has said that he sees no need for an additional mobilization, claiming that many of the 300,000 troops called up in the fall have yet to be deployed to Ukraine.