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Putin has exhausted supply of willing volunteers, says UK defence chiefs

Putin has exhausted supply of willing volunteers, says UK defence chiefs

Vladimir Putin’s partial mobilisation of troops is an admission that the Russian President has exhausted his supply of willing volunteers to fight in Ukraine, British defence chiefs said on Thursday.

In its daily intelligence briefing, the UK’s Ministry of Defence also said Russia was likely to struggle to muster the extra 300,000 reservists who now face being called up for duty in the conflict.

Following talks at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, US President Joe Biden and Prime Minister Liz Truss condemned the move with Downing Street saying it was a “clear admission” Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was failing.

Russian forces have suffered a series of major setbacks in the past month as Ukraine’s troops have reclaimed vast swaths of territory in the north east of the country.

Raising the stakes over Ukraine, the Russian premier claimed in a televised address on Wednesday that his decision to call up reservists was intended to preserve his country’s territorial integrity against what he alleged was Western aggression.

But intelligence officials at the Ministry of Defence insisted the mobilisation was likely to be unpopular with large parts of the Russian population. The decision sparked protests across the country, the BBC reported, with Russian police arresting hundreds of protesters.

Flights out of Russia are also reported to have sold out, sending ticket prices soaring.

In its briefing, the MoD said: “Russia is likely to struggle with the logistical and administrative challenges of even mustering the 300,000 personnel.

“It will probably attempt to stand up new formations with many of these troops, which are unlikely to be combat effective for months.

“Even this limited mobilisation is likely to be highly unpopular with parts of the Russian population.

“Putin is accepting considerable political risk in the hope of generating much needed combat power.

“The move is effectively an admission that Russia has exhausted its supply of willing volunteers to fight in Ukraine.”