UK

Russia ‘struggling to train recruits following mobilisation drive’

R

ussian forces are struggling to provide training to recruits or find officers to lead new units following their mobilisation drive, according to the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Moscow officials had planned to call up some 300,000 people with combat experience after Vladimir Putin announced a “partial mobilisation” on Wednesday, September 21.

However, Russian media reported that the number of conscripts could be as high as 1.2 million.

Human rights groups, as well as Russian citizens affected by the draft, say men who do not fit that criteria, prisoners and even anti-draft protesters are also being rounded up.

In its latest intelligence briefing, the MoD says officials have almost certainly drafted ineligible people, and will struggle to train new recruits.

The MoD said: “On 29 September 2022, President Putin addressed his National Security Council on the ‘partial mobilisation’ he had announced on 21 September.

“He said, ‘a lot of questions are being raised during this mobilisation campaign, and we must promptly correct our mistakes and not repeat them.’

“Putin’s unusually rapid acknowledgement of problems highlights the dysfunction of the mobilisation over its first week. Local officials are likely unclear on the exact scope and legal rationale of the campaign.”

It adds that “they have almost certainly drafted some personnel who are outside the definitions claimed by Putin and the Ministry of Defence”.

“As drafted reservists continue to assemble at tented transit camps, Russian officials are likely struggling to provide training and in finding officers to lead new units.”

It comes as Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said Mr Putin is “highly unlikely” to use nuclear weapons in the Ukraine conflict but admitted he is not acting in a “rational” way.

Mr Wallace told a fringe meeting at the Tory party conference that although the use of nuclear weapons was in the Russian military doctrine, it would be unacceptable to Moscow’s allies India and China.

But Mr Wallace added that the Russian leader’s actions, from the nerve agent attack in Salisbury to the invasion of Ukraine, were “totally irrational”.

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