Vladimir Putin announced a major mobilization at the end of September. Now the first well-trained units are moving to the front. But chaos reigns there. Recruits are used contrary to their training. A big mistake.
Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has failed so far mainly due to two things: the unexpected strength of the Ukrainian army and the poorly trained and equipped Kremlin troops. To counteract this, Putin has been mobilizing hundreds of thousands of new fighters since the end of September. Many of them were sent to the front lines as cannon fodder to delay the Ukrainian counter-offensive. Others stayed in Russia to be educated there.
Now new units are ready to fight. trained for months. Even if the quality of the training is uncertain, this should give the Russian troops a boost. But this must be doubted. Because Putin is apparently making a big mistake. There are increasing reports of units being sent to war and not supposed to do what they were trained to do there.
Eight men stand in the snow in the Donetsk region. A camera is running. One of the soldiers reads a message to Vladimir Putin: “To the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Army. To the Defense Minister. An appeal. We are the artillerymen mobilized by your order. We came to the Donetsk region, to the 1st Army Corps . The commanders don’t listen to us. They want to send us to the front line as infantry. But we were trained with a specialization in artillery and cannot be used in any other way.”
And further: “We were formed as a unit to join an artillery division. We appeal to you to take care of it. We stand ready to fulfill our stated goals. With due respect – your mobilized artillerymen.”
The leaders in the field therefore want to send trained artillery units into battle as foot soldiers. This is a big mistake in more ways than one.
The video of the 1st Army Corps apparently does not show an isolated case either. The Russian military blogger Aleksandr Kots writes about the 640 howitzer division from the Saratov region: “For three months they were trained in the art of artillery. The instructors put all their strength and knowledge into the training. And at the end, on 27 December, they were taken to the war zone with the war. They were told there was no use for artillerymen. That would need infantry.”
The whole preparation is “in the bucket”, says Kots. “Now there’s a trained unit fighting untrained. Such a waste.” Kots writes that this happened in at least two battalions – probably more.
The stories follow the course of this war. Again and again soldiers complain that their superiors at the front have no idea about warfare and what is happening on the battlefield. There is a lack of communication between the units and especially from the battlefield to the home command centers.
This appears to be the case here as well. Fighters are trained, sent to the front lines, and there the commanders have no use for them. The Ukrainian army could benefit further from this chaos.