Vladimir Putin’s attempts to strengthen his armed forces are not going well, according to intelligence from the UK’s Ministry of Defence.
In its latest update, the MoD explained that just two months after the Russian president announced his plans for a “partial mobilisation”, it is clear that mobilised reservists are being called up to serve with “inadequate training”.
The move, announced in September, was meant to enlist 300,000 men with previous military experience to boost the Russian forces, although the official decree did not specify a required number of troops.
And, since these additional soldiers have joined, Ukraine’s counteroffensive have been incredibly effective and Kyiv has regained much of its land to the east and south.
And in its daily Twitter update, the MoD made it clear that Putin’s early bid to bolster his forces had backfired.
“[Reservists’] deployment is often characterised by confusion over eligibility for service, inadequate training and personal equipment, and commitment to highly attritional combat missions,” the intelligence explained.
“Most – though not all – mobilised reservists have previously served and numerous examples suggest that reservists are highly likely not having their medical status adequately reviewed, and many are being compelled to serve with serious, chronic health conditions.”
Russia’s unclear instructions about who was to be called up already made headlines back in October.
Shortly after announcing the mobilisation, Putin suddenly declared there would be “corrections” to the call-out, after reports that people with no experience or those older than the draft age had been called up.
The Russian president claimed that “fathers of many children” those with chronic disease or past conscription age would be exempt along with students.
These troops then have to face intense conditions on the frontline, according to the UK intelligence.
“Mobilised reservists have experienced particularly heavy casualties after being committed to dig ambitious trench systems while under artillery fire around the Luhansk Oblast town of Svatove.”
The MoD added: “In Donetsk Oblast, reservists have been killed in large numbers in frontal assaults into well-established Ukrainian defensive zones around the town of Bakhmut.”
The entire region of Luhansk and Donetsk have been under occupation for months, run by Russian separatists.
The Kremlin has declared it officially part of Russia – but Ukraine is determined to reclaim all parts of its land, and Russia has already pulled out of the only regional city it had captured throughout the nine-month war, Kherson.
The UK officials also suggested that the Kremlin will be “concerned” about the number of reservists’ families who are”prepared to risk arrest” to protest the conditions of the troops.
Anti-war protests are growing in Russia, particularly since the mobilisation orders, as civilians started fleeing the country in droves to avoid being called up to war.
In October, Bloomberg.com revealed that 400,000 Russians have escaped to nearby states – meaning more Russians had fled that actually been conscripted.
Independent Russian human rights project, OVD-Info, has claimed between February 24 this year and November 25, there have been 19,403 detentions in protest against the war and mobilisation in Russia.