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Russian ‘limitless’ manpower is a myth, Russia to face more problems with new call-ups — ISW

Mobilized Russians in Omsk, January 2023

Mobilized Russians in Omsk, January 2023

ISW analysts claim that “the specter of limitless Russian manpower is a myth,” recalling Putin “has already been forced to make difficult and suboptimal choices to offset the terrible losses his war has inflicted on the Russian military.”

Read also: Putin unexpectedly mentions the risk of Russia’s collapse

At most, the dictator “will face similarly difficult choices in 2023 if he persists in his determination to use military force to impose his will on Ukraine and the West.”

Read also: Putin’s latest address failed to articulate specific goals for war in Ukraine, says ISW

“Russia can mobilize more manpower, and Putin will likely do so rather than give up,” the ISW writes.

“But the costs to Putin and Russia of the measures he will likely need to take at this point will begin to mount rapidly. Putin’s clear efforts to prepare the Russian people for a protracted and painful war suggest that he has realized that only the Russian (Ministry of Defense) can actually sustain the large mechanized forces he needs to have any hope of achieving his ambitions in Ukraine.”

ISW analysts believe that Putin may still be hesitant to order the additional mobilization of reservists, which Russian officials have likely been preparing for early 2023. He has not returned and probably will not return to the practice of recruiting “volunteers,” with which he tried to compensate for losses since May 2022 — at that time, the formation of “volunteer battalions” was entrusted to the regions of the Russian Federation. However, “he has not turned back to voluntary recruitment and is unlikely to do so, but he seems to remain nervous about how much sacrifice he can impose on his people.”

Read also: Russian invaders refusing to go on offensive in Vuhledar area en masse

Even if Putin announces another wave or two of reserve mobilizations, he may find himself facing another dilemma: the pool of reservists suitable for combat is finite. The Russian conscription system generates roughly 260,000 new soldiers each year, drawn in two semi-annual drafts.

Meanwhile, “the combination of the pre-war reserve call-up, the recruitment efforts that drew partly on reservists, and the partial reserve call-up of September have likely made significant inroads into the available reserve manpower in the age groups and with the experience appropriate to replace losses in front-line combat units,” ISW analysts. believe.

The ISW also explains that now, facing the need for a fresh wave of mobilization, Putin’s demand for an ultranationalist pro-war community has changed, but has not disappeared. If in the first stages of the war, the dictator tried to use this community to expand his campaign to attract “volunteers” to the army, trying to avoid the announcement of mandatory conscription, now the pro-war circles serve the dictator as the ” most reliable pro-Kremlin voice sustaining support for the war effort.”

Therefore, Putin is “unlikely to allow the Ministry of Defense fully to censor or shut it down, but he may allow (Chief of Russian General Staff Valery) Gerasimov to sideline or remove entirely some milbloggers who have been too strident in their criticisms now that their services as active recruiters are no longer necessary,” the ISW concludes.

Read also: Russia is likely preparing for an offensive in Ukraine in the coming months, says ISW

Key takeaways

● Deputy Head of the Ukrainian Main Intelligence Directorate (HUR) Vadym Skibitskyi stated that Ukrainian forces will be ready for a counteroffensive this upcoming spring and that one of Ukraine’s strategic goals will be to drive a wedge into the Russian front in southern Ukraine between Crimea and the Russian mainland.

● Putin falsely stated that the West is trying to break up the Russian Federation and suggested that Western security assistance to Ukraine makes the West a participant in the war. Putin leaned on a longstanding rhetorical line of effort for raising domestic support for the war by falsely claiming that the West is threatening the survival of the Russian people as a unified ethnic group.

● Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu stated that the types of systems that the West provides to Ukraine will determine how far Russian forces need to push threats away from Russia’s borders, likely in support of an ongoing Russian information operation aimed at discouraging the Western provision of specific systems to Ukraine.

● US Central Intelligence Agency Director William Burns stated on Feb. 25 that the CIA is confident that the Chinese leadership is considering the provision of lethal equipment to Russia but has not made a final decision.

● Russian forces continued to conduct unsuccessful operations northwest of Svatove and near Kreminna.

● Russian forces continued offensive operations around Bakhmut, and a Russian military blogger claimed that Russian forces made further advances north of the city.

● Russian forces continued offensive operations along the western outskirts of Donetsk City and in western Donetsk Oblast.

Read also: Four collaborators who operated the Russian torture chamber during the occupation were detained in Kherson

● Spokesperson for the Ukrainian forces in the Tavriisk operational direction, Oleksiy Dmytrashkivyskyi, reported that Russian forces are accumulating a large amount of Russian personnel and equipment near Vasylivka and Hulyaipole in Zaporizhzhya Oblast.

● Russian military personnel from the 1439th Regiment from Irkutsk Oblast released a video complaining about being subordinated under Donetsk puppet authority commanders in Ukraine, further indicating that the Russian Ministry of Defense may be continuing to integrate ‘these formations into the Russian Armed Forces through the subordination of mobilized personnel.

Read also: Ukrainian defense forces destroyed over 650 Russian cruise missiles, 610 drones since mid-September

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Map of combat operations: the battle for Bakhmut, battles in the Donbass and in the Zaporizhzhya Oblast, in the south and in the north-east of Ukraine

Read the original article on The New Voice of Ukraine

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