Russia can call up all the troops it wants, but it cannot train or support them


Vladimir Putin can call up all the troops he wants, but Russia has no way of getting these new troops the training and weapons they need to fight in Ukraine any time soon.

As the invasion of Ukraine went awry, the Russian president on Wednesday announced an immediate “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Russian television that the country will call up 300,000 reservists.

If they face Ukrainian weapons on the front lines, they may become the latest casualties of an invasion launched by Putin more than seven months ago that has failed the Russian military in almost every facet of modern warfare.

“The Russian military is not currently equipped to deploy 300,000 reservists quickly and effectively,” said Alex Lord, a Europe and Eurasia specialist at the London-based strategic analysis firm Sibylline.

“Russia is already struggling to effectively supply its professional forces in Ukraine after suffering significant equipment losses during the war,” Lord said.

Kyiv’s recent offensive in Ukraine, which has recaptured thousands of square meters of territory, has had a major impact.

The Institute for the Study of War said earlier this week that an analysis of Western experts and Ukrainian intelligence found that Russia lost 50 to 90 percent of its forces in some units as a result of the attack, as well as large amounts of armor.

And that’s in addition to the enormous losses of equipment during the war.

The open-source intelligence website Oryx, using only losses confirmed by photo or video evidence, estimates Russian forces have lost more than 6,300 vehicles, including 1,168 tanks, since the fighting began.

“In practice, they don’t have enough modern equipment … for many new troops,” said Jakub Janovsky, a military analyst who works for the Oryx blog.

JT Crump, Sibylline’s CEO and a 20-year veteran of the British Army, said Russia is experiencing shortages of ammunition in some calibers and is seeking sources of key components to repair or build replacements for weapons lost on the battlefield.

It is not only tanks and armored vehicles that have been lost.

In many cases, Russian troops do not have a basic base in Ukraine, including a clear definition of what their lives are at stake.

Despite Wednesday’s mobilization order, Putin still calls Ukraine a “special military operation,” not a war.

Ukrainian soldiers know that they are fighting for their homeland. Many Russian soldiers do not know why they are in Ukraine.

Lithuanian Foreign Minister Gabrielius Landsbergis said this on Wednesday, calling Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization a “sign of desperation”.

“I think people don’t want to go to a war they don’t understand. … People would be sent to prison if they called the Russian war in Ukraine a war, and now, all of a sudden, they have to fight unprepared, without weapons, without body armor, without helmets,” he said.

But even if they had all the equipment, weapons and motivation they need, it would be impossible to quickly train 300,000 soldiers for battle, experts say.

“There are no additional officers or facilities needed for a massive mobilization in Russia today,” said Trent Telenko, a former quality control inspector at the US Defense Contract Management Agency who has studied logistics in Russia.

The 2008 reforms, aimed at modernizing and professionalizing the Russian military, removed many of the logistics and command-and-control structures that had once enabled the forces of the old Soviet Union to quickly train and equip large numbers of mobilized soldiers.

Lord, in Sibylline, said it would take at least three months to raise, train and deploy Russian reserves.

“At that point we’ll be in the depths of a Ukrainian winter,” Lord said. “As such, we are unlikely to see the influx of reservists make a serious impact on the battlefield until the spring of 2023, and even then they are likely to be undertrained and ill-equipped.”

Mark Hertling, a former US Army general and CNN analyst, said he saw firsthand how poor Russian training could be during his visits to the country.

“Was awesome…basic first aid, few resource conservation simulations, and…most importantly…tremendous leadership,” Hertling wrote on Twitter.

“Putting the initiates, who have low morale and don’t want to be (there) on the front line, portends more (Russian) disaster.

“Awesome,” Hertling tweeted.

Telenko said the newly mobilized troops would likely be the last casualties of Putin’s war.

“Russia can make organs. He cannot quickly train them, equip them, and most of all, transport them.

“Waves of 20 to 50 AK-somethings with assault rifles and no radios will fall on the first attack of Ukrainian artillery or armor,” he said.