Russia is sending 300,000 reservists to the war in Ukraine. The sheer number makes many people tremble that Putin’s army is finally winning the fight against the Ukrainians. But experts agree: Russia will not be able to launch an offensive on the battlefield with it.
Australian military expert Mick Ryan wrote on Twitter: “The Russians have suffered heavy casualties. Putin’s military leadership had to watch as their units slowly disappeared. In addition, many soldiers have been in combat for eight months. Normally, a fighter’s punching power decreases after three to four months. So the Russians have to replenish their troops first and foremost.”
The Russian army in Ukraine needs rotation. And that rotation would be impossible without partial mobilization, Ryan said. But he doesn’t think it’s enough for more. “The number of soldiers mobilized will not be enough to decisively influence the outcome of the war,” said the ex-general. This is a troop refresher, not a major new offensive. The refresher alone is necessary to secure the previously conquered areas.
The mobilization does not have the goal of winning the war and fulfilling the original goals.
The military experts of the US Institute for the Study of War (ISW) also emphasize that partial mobilization will not solve the many problems of the Russians in Ukraine. The researchers write: “Putin’s call to arms will not generate any particular clout. But it may be enough to maintain current firepower by offsetting Russian losses.”
However, according to the ISW, the reservists are often poorly trained. In addition, they would usually not receive regular training. The bad training would also be lost over time. Defense Minister Shoigu stated that only reservists “with combat experience” would be drafted. “But there are only very few reservists with combat experience who are not already deployed in the Ukraine war,” according to the ISW experts.
The conclusion of the military researchers: The partial mobilization will not have an immediate effect on the course of the war. According to the ISW report, Putin’s maneuvers “do not deprive the Ukrainians of an opportunity to liberate even more occupied territories”. However, a lot also depends on how much training the reservists receive and how long it lasts.
At least ex-General Mick Ryan sees an advantage for the Russians here. He writes: “It is difficult to estimate how long the mobilization will last. But it is much quicker to equip, train and field troops for a defensive war than for an offensive.”
Ryan believes that Putin’s maneuvers show two things, among other things: First, Putin and his military have realized that Russia could lose this war. Second, Putin will not desist from this war. He is now mobilizing in the hope that this will prolong the war and weaken the Western powers’ support for Ukraine.