Russia can call as many troops as it wants, but it cannot train or support them


Vladimir Putin can call as many troops as he wants, but Russia has no way of providing these new troops with the training and weapons they need to fight in Ukraine anytime soon.

With his invasion of Ukraine faltering severely, the Russian president announced on Wednesday the immediate “partial mobilization” of Russian citizens. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told Russian television that the country will recall 300,000 reservists.

If they end up facing Ukrainian weapons on the front lines, they are likely to become the latest victims of Putin’s invasion that began more than seven months ago and has seen the Russian military fail in almost every aspect of modern warfare.

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

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

The recent Ukrainian offensive, which saw Kiev recapture thousands of square meters of territory, had a significant impact.

The Institute for the Study of War earlier this week said analysis by Western experts and Ukrainian intelligence found that Russia had lost 50% to 90% of its strength in some units due to that offensive and huge amounts of armor.

And that adds to the staggering loss of equipment over the course of the war.

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

“Basically, they don’t have enough modern equipment … for so many new troops,” said Jakub Janovsky, a military analyst who contributes to Oryx’s blog.

JT Crump, CEO of Sibylline and a 20-year veteran in the British Army, said Russia is starting to suffer from ammunition shortages in certain calibers and is looking for sources of key components so they can repair or build replacements for weapons. lost on the battlefield.

It is not just tanks and armored vehicles that are lost.

In many cases, Russian troops have not had bases in Ukraine, including a clear definition of what they are risking their lives for.

Despite Wednesday’s mobilization order, Putin continues to call Ukraine a “special military operation”, not a war.

Ukrainian soldiers know they are fighting for their homeland. Many Russian soldiers have no idea why they are in Ukraine.

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

A billboard promoting military service in St. Petersburg on September 20 contains the slogan,

“I think people absolutely don’t want to go to a war they don’t understand. … People would be taken to prison if they were to call Russia’s war in Ukraine a war, and now suddenly they have to come in and fight it unprepared, without weapons, without flak jackets, without helmets, ”she said.

But even if they had all the equipment, weapons and motivation they need, getting 300,000 soldiers quickly trained for battle would be impossible, experts said.

“Now in Russia there are neither the extra officers nor the facilities needed for a mass mobilization,” said Trent Telenko, former quality control auditor for the US Defense Contract Management Agency who studied logistics. Russian.

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

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

“At that moment we will be in the depths of a Ukrainian winter,” said Lord. “As such, an influx of reservists are unlikely to have a serious impact on the battlefield until spring 2023, and even then they are likely to be poorly trained and ill-equipped.”

Mark Hertling, a former US Army general and CNN analyst, said he saw firsthand just how poor Russian training could be when visiting the country.

“It was terrible … rudimentary first aid, very few simulations to conserve resources and … most of all … horrible leadership,” Hertling tweeted.

“Putting ‘beginners’ on the front line who has been mauled, has low morale and who does not want to be (there) portends another (Russian) disaster.

“Jaw-dropping,” Hertling tweeted.

Telenko said the newly mobilized troops will likely become only the latest casualties in Putin’s war.

“Russia can draw up organs. He cannot quickly train, equip and most importantly lead them.

“Untrained waves of 20 to 50 men with AK something assault rifles and no radios will fall apart on the first Ukrainian artillery or tank attack,” he said.

Hertling predicts “disastrous” consequences for Putin’s latest move