The mobilization of 300,000 reservists by Russian President Vladimir V. Putin may only reinforce the failure, said Pentagon Air Force press secretary Brig. said General Pat Ryder at a press conference today.
Putin has called up 300,000 Russian reservists for his unjust and unprovoked war in Ukraine. He also indirectly shook off his nuclear quiver.
His action follows a Ukrainian counter-offensive that pushed Russian forces out of Kharkiv and liberated more than 3,000 square kilometers of Ukrainian territory. In August, DOD policy chief Colin Kahl said the Russians had lost between 50,000 and 70,000 military personnel in their war against Ukraine.
Putin’s mobilization “would mainly be reservists or members of the Russian military who had retired,” Ryder said.
They are not like the reserve formations in the United States. U.S. Army Reserve elements are trained and ready to move in hours, days, or weeks, as needed.
In the Russian model, these are people who have completed their service commitment and are called to return. “We estimate that it would take time for Russia to train, prepare and equip these forces,” Ryder said.
Russian actions in the war against Ukraine indicate serious command and control problems and a breakdown in logistics since the invasion began on February 24. These issues remained unresolved and contributed to the failure of Russian operations to take the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv in March and Russia’s inability to make much progress in the Donbass region in April.
The mobilization “could solve a labor problem for Russia,” Ryder said. “What’s unclear is whether or not this could significantly address command and control, logistics, sustainment and, most importantly, the morale issues we’ve seen Russian forces in. Ukraine experience.”
If Russia cannot command, support and equip the approximately 100,000 troops it has in Ukraine, adding 300,000 more troops is not going to improve the situation. “If you’re already facing significant challenges and haven’t resolved some of those systemic strategic issues that make any large military force capable, there’s no indication that it will get any easier by adding more variables to the equation,” Ryder said.
The United States and its partners will continue a very open and rigorous dialogue with their Ukrainian counterparts to understand the country’s needs. “I don’t see these conversations as being affected by the situation. [with mobilization]“, said the general. “I think it is important here to provide a bit of context. If we go back a bit in time, Russia invaded Ukraine and tried to annex all of Ukraine.
“They failed in this strategic objective, and so they reduced the scope of their operational objectives,” he continued. “Even these are not going well due to the counter-offensive by Ukraine and the problems that I pointed out in terms of logistics and sustainment.”
Putin making the announcement of the mobilization, scheduling fictitious referendums in the captured areas of Donbass or threatening territory attacks, “this does not change the operational facts on the ground, namely that the Ukrainians will continue to fight for their country,” Ryder said. “The Russian military faces significant challenges on the ground and the international community will support Ukraine as it fights to defend its country against invasion.”