Ukraine has said that Russia could be looking to draft millions of troops to fight in its invasion after hundreds of thousands were called up in its recent partial mobilization.
The Kremlin has stated the draft that Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced in September, which aimed to enlist 300,000 reservists, had officially ended on October 31.
But the fact that the official decree for the draft had not been revoked prompted rumors within Russia that Putin was still keeping options open for another wave of mobilization.
Oleksiy Gromov, an official from the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, has told a briefing that Russia’s political leadership had circulated a document titled “conclusions of the war with NATO in Ukraine.”
Gromov said the document outlines problems that Russian troops are facing such as the chain-of-command shortcomings, a lack of discipline and out-of-date weapons.
“The document also states that there has not been such a war for more than 80 years, and for Russia to achieve victory, the numerical composition of its army should be about 5 million servicemen,” Gromov said, as cited by Ukrainian state news outlet Ukrinform.
This may mean that the next wave of mobilization and the introduction of martial law in the country might take place “in the near future,” Ukrinfrom reported. The total personnel in Russia’s armed forces numbers around 2 million, according to Statista.
When asked what Ukraine’s response would be to facing a bigger Russian army, Gromov said, according to a translation, that such work is ongoing and that “calculations are made almost daily.”
Newsweek has contacted the Russian defense ministry for comment.
On Friday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov rejected a report that there would be a “mobilization of the country” after the online publication Pravda.ru said that Putin would make an appeal by the end of 2022 for a nationwide draft.
The publication added that the Russian leader would address “the mobilization of both soldiers and officers, and the economy.” However, Peskov said that the report was not true, Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti reported.
Putin has defended the draft, but it has been beset by complaints that it was botched and that reservists were being sent into battle underequipped and undertrained.
On November 23, video footage showed reservists from Serpukhov, Moscow Oblast, 62 miles south of the capital, complaining about mismanagement and poor leadership. One soldier says to the camera “we don’t know our main task,” but that at the moment “our main task is to survive.”
The Council of Mothers and Wives of mobilized soldiers, a grassroots movement, is demanding that Putin meets with its members after the Kremlin said the Russian leader would talk to mothers of troops on Mother’s Day (November 27) in the country.
The group said that none of its members had been invited to an event scheduled on Sunday and accused Putin of “hiding.”