Vladimir Putin struggling to ‘placate’ Russian opposition to troop mobilisation plan, ISW warns

The Kremlin admitting mistakes in its drive to mobilise army reservists to fight in Ukraine is unlikely to “placate” public opposition in Russia, defence experts said on Tuesday.

The Institute for The Study of War said Vladimir Putin’s regime faced a “daunting task in trying to calm” what it described as “a distraught and panicking population” while still mobilizing sufficient troops.

In its latest update on the conflict, the ISW said: “The Kremlin is attempting to message its way out of the reality of major problems in the execution of its ‘partial mobilization’ but its narratives are unlikely to placate Russians who can perceive the real mistakes all around them.”

President Putin last week announced a partial mobilisation of 300,000 reservists.

However reports in opposition Russian media suggested that up to one million people could be called up, pointing out that one paragraph believed to be about the exact number of the required reservists was classified in the published version of Mr Putin’s decree on the official Kremlin website.

Multiple reports say people with no military experience - or who are too old or disabled - are being called up.

 (AP)
(AP)

The Kremlin has attempted to blame “individual errors of local authorities” for the “mistakes” in who is being called up, the ISW said, but added “The violations are clearly too common to be merely the result of individual errors, however, and Russian citizens can see them all too clearly.”

Opposition to the mobilisation has seen more than 2,000 people detained at protests across Russia, while thousands of people have reportedly fled the country.

New satellite imagery showed a queue of well over 10 miles of vehicles trying to cross into Georgia.

At one point on Sunday, the estimated wait to enter Georgia hit 48 hours, with more than 3,000 vehicles queuing to cross the frontier, it was reported.

Meanwhile the “sham” referenda on Russian-occupied parts of Eastern Ukraine joining Russia were due to end today.

In its latest intelligence update the UK’s Ministry of Defence warned President Putin could use speeches to both houses of the Russian Parliament on Friday “to formally announce the accession of the occupied regions of Ukraine to the Russian Federation”.

It said: “Russia’s leaders almost certainly hope that any accession announcement will be seen as a vindication of the ‘special military operation’ and will consolidate patriotic support for the conflict. This aspiration will likely be undermined by the increasing domestic awareness of Russia’s recent battlefield sets-backs and significant unease about the partial mobilisation announced last week.”