Special Russian mobilization sitrep

Special Russian mobilization sitrep

Conflict Intelligence Team

Today, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization. The published version of the decree does not contain any specific figures for a call-up (the decree contains a restricted clause 7 “for official use”. Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that it refers to the number of mobilized), nor a description of the criteria. However, Russian Minister of Defense Sergei Shoigu clarified that the plan was to call up 300,000 people. At the same time, it is allegedly not planned to call on conscripts and those who do not have combat experience. 

However, war was not declared and martial law was not introduced. This may interfere with the "political mobilization" of the population, and their motivation to go to the front. Also, no travel restrictions were officially announced for those subject to mobilization. 

We believe that, first of all, they can mobilize conscripts who should be demobilized in the fall of 2022 (conscripted in the  fall of 2021). After demobilization, such soldiers are best suited for the criteria of “under 35 years old”, “having a military specialty”, and “trained”. In addition to participating in the "Special Military Operation", such "recent conscripts" can be involved in the training of the mobilized or appointed commanders of newly formed platoons and companies. Also, the group of citizens who received mobilization assignments in the previous months are in a special risk category. According to the current legislation, after the announcement of mobilization, they must independently, without additional notification, arrive at the military commissar's office, otherwise they will be considered draft dodgers and subject to criminal liability.

The last time a mobilization was announced in Russia was during WWII. But then, the organizations and cadre necessary to conduct a mobilization already existed. As of 2022, the Ground Forces of the Armed Forces of Russia numbered 280,000. If you subtract conscripts, then the number of ground troops is in the range of 150,000 - 180,000. Drafting 300,000 men could triple the number of ground troops. But not all of those mobilized will be assigned to the Ground Forces. In our view, the most in-demand military specialties will be drivers, mechanized infantry, tank crewmen, paratroopers, marines, communications personnel, squad and platoon commanders, and possibly artillerymen. An increase in the number of Russian troops will also require the drafting of medical workers. Reports about this have already begun to surface

As they announced the mobilization, the Russian authorities have published — for just the third time since the start of the “special military operation” — the number of Russian servicemen killed: 5937 people. This is smaller than even the count by the Mediazona (an independent Russian news outlet) and the BBC News Russia who are aware of over 6,200 people killed based on open source information. The Russian military also announced the Ukrainian losses: 61,000 servicemen killed and 49,000 wounded. We are confident that these numbers don’t reflect reality either.

We assume that the decision regarding partial mobilization could have been affected by the current situation at the battlefront in Kharkiv direction, where the AFU have undertaken a successful counter offensive and the RuAF have lost a significant number of military vehicles, also the liberation of Bilohorivka in Luhansk region, which had previously been under full RuAF control.

The mobilization can be performeded in two general “ways”:

• nominally “Luhansk-Donetsk”, when the mobilized ones will be promptly deployed at the battlefront in order to support current frontline actions without proper training;

• more reasonable, when training of the mobilized will take up to several months. During this time, the Ministry of Defense and Russian defense industry will also most likely be able to recomission and rebuild the required number of military equipment. 

In both cases, the number of those mobilized will probably be enough to strengthen Russian positions along the front line and prevent the recurrence of the “Kharkiv scenario”. Whether the number of mobilized forces will be enough to develop an offensive and, for example, capture the Slovyansk and Kramatorsk urban agglomerations will depend entirely on the progress of mobilization and training of the mobilized.

Most likely, the repressive apparatus will be actively involved in the mobilization: police officers will come to the addresses of residence of the citizens subject to conscription to mobilize and take them to the military registration and enlistment offices.

We believe that, in response to the decisions of the Russian authorities, Ukraine's allies should expand the list and volumes of weapons and equipment supplies. They should also expand and accelerate the training program for Ukrainian soldiers.

It is unlikely that we will see the first mobilized soldiers at the front in the coming weeks. However, in general, the decision of the Russian authorities on partial mobilization changes our forecasts for the development of the situation at the front. It will be impossible to provide new forecasts until we understand how competently the mobilization and training will go.

In response to the mobilization order, a number of Russian organizations announced protests. One can expect that some of those detained during the protests, should they meet the criteria for mobilization, will be sent to Military Commissariats [local military recruitment bodies] directly from the police stations.

At the same time, the Ukrainian counteroffensive continues. Konrad Muzyka, an independent military analyst, believes that the Ukrainian side might have liberated Lyman in the Donetsk region, but there is no objective evidence for this so far.

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