Britain on Thursday expressed doubts about Russia’s ability to implement what President Vladimir Putin called a “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 reservists for the war against ukraine.
The skepticism was fueled by a backlash expressed by some citizens in response to Putin’s order.
Despite Russia’s dissent laws, protesters took to the streets in cities across the country. Nearly 1,200 Russians have been arrested during anti-war protests in cities including Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to independent Russian human rights group OVD-Info.
“Russia is likely to be grappling with the logistical and administrative challenges of simply mustering the 300,000 troops,” the UK Ministry of Defense said in its daily update on the war in Ukraine.
“He will probably try to set up new formations with many of these troops, which will probably not be combat effective for months,” he added.
The ministry sees the partial mobilization as a sign of desperation from Moscow. “This decision is in fact an admission that Russia has exhausted its stock of combat-ready volunteers in Ukraine.”
“Even this limited mobilization is likely to be very unpopular with part of the Russian population. Putin is accepting considerable political risk in the hope of generating much-needed combat power,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Institute for the Study of War, a Washington-based think tank, wrote in an assessment that Russia’s partial mobilization “will not deprive Ukraine of the opportunity to liberate more of its occupied territory. during and during the winter”.
The institute added that the partial mobilization will not generate significant usable Russian combat power for months.
Military expert Mick Ryan, a retired Major General in the Australian Army, wrote on Twitter that Russian troops have been deployed in combat in Ukraine for nearly eight months, longer than the usual three to four months.
“This is a depleted force that needs a rotation. Such a rotation was impossible without this partial mobilization,” Ryan wrote. So it’s more about rotation and substitution than building a huge new attacking capability, he suggested.
Here’s a roundup of other news about or relating to the war in Ukraine in September 22.
US denounces Russian nuclear threats to UN Security Council
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said at a meeting of the UN Security Council that “every member of the Council should send a clear message that these irresponsible nuclear threats must end immediately”.
Blinken listed several allegations of war crimes and other atrocities committed during Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Blinken called on countries to hold Russia accountable and said “the international order that we have gathered here to defend is being shredded before our eyes.”
“We cannot – and will not let – President Putin get away with this,” Blinken added. The top US diplomat said it was essential to show that “no nation can redraw the borders of another by force”.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov dismissed the charges at the session, saying “the United States and its allies, with the connivance of international human rights organizations, covered up the crimes of the Kyiv regime”.
The UN Security Council has 10 elected members and five permanent members who can veto any Security Council proposal, namely the United States, Russia, China, France and the United Kingdom.
UK, Poland and Ukraine boost defense capabilities
The UK, Poland and Ukraine will develop their trilateral cooperation, including strengthening the defense capabilities of the three countries and NATO’s eastern flank, according to a joint statement issued by their foreign ministers.
The foreign ministers of the three countries, who met in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, also agreed on plans to support Ukraine in the long term.
German Defense Minister says Putin’s moves strengthen Berlin’s resolve
German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said Russia’s partial mobilization and planned referendums in occupied parts of Ukraine will not weaken Germany’s military support in Kyiv.
“On the contrary, this reaction from Putin to Ukraine’s successes inspires us to continue to support Ukraine and send this clear signal,” Lambrecht said.
The comments came in Berlin after a meeting with his French counterpart Sébastien Lecornu.
For his part, Lecronu said that France would also continue its support for Ukraine in terms of armament and training.
Orban wants the lifting of sanctions against Russia by the end of the year
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban wants the European Union to lift the sanctions it has imposed on Russia and demands that this be done before the end of the year.
The EU imposed sanctions in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and has gradually tightened the screws since the conflict began on February 24.
The daily Magyar Nemzet quoted Orban as saying that the sanctions, and the resulting economic consequences, were “imposed on Europeans by bureaucrats in Brussels.”
“The sanctions cause economic problems, the energy crisis and inflation,” he added.
Orban managed to maintain good relations with Moscow even after the war.
Hungary has been granted an exemption from the oil embargo imposed on Russia to help Budapest ease its economic concerns over a shortage.
Finland notices increased traffic at Russian border and will limit visas
Finland has reported more traffic than usual at its border with Russia, the region’s border guard said on Thursday.
According to the Finnish border guard’s head of international affairs, Matti Pitkaniitty, a total of 4,824 Russians crossed the Finnish border on Wednesday. On the same day the previous week, there were 3,133, he said.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said Finland would find its own solution to the Russian tourist visa issue.
“Finland does not want to become a transit country for Schengen visas issued by other countries,” Haavisto said on Wednesday evening, according to public broadcaster Yle. “There is no moral justification for Russian holidays to continue as they are.”
Finland shares a border with Russia that stretches 1,340 kilometers (833 miles).
Turkey says separatist ‘referendums’ will not be recognized by international community
Russia’s planned “referendums” in occupied Ukrainian territories threaten to “aggravate instability”, the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement, adding that the polls are “illegitimate” and “will not be recognized by the international community”.
Ankara supports “the territorial integrity of Ukraine”, the ministry said, urging both sides to resolve the conflict through peaceful negotiations.
Actions other than this “will complicate efforts to revitalize the diplomatic process”, he added.
Four Russian-occupied regions of Ukraine plan to hold so-called referendums on joining the Russian Federation as early as Friday.
More Ukraine-related content on DW
Just as it did when it annexed Crimea in 2014, Russia is keen to not appear involved by using referendums to suggest a hands-off approach. But will this strategy succeed in the face of international derision? DW explored the Kremlin strategy here.
Questions have been raised about Germany’s support for Ukraine since Russia’s invasion in February. Ukraine needs modern Western tanks to continue retaking Russian-occupied territory, military experts say there are calls for Germany to form a coalition in Europe to deliver them.
rm, jsi/kb (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)