Putin's Covert Conscription Will Flood 'Overburdened' Russian Forces: ISW

Russia is preparing to mobilize troops in a second draft that is likely to be "detrimental" to President Vladimir Putin's forces in Ukraine, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) has said.

In its daily update on Friday, the U.S. think tank said that the Kremlin is preparing for a second mobilization wave despite Putin's statement on October 31 that the formal draft he had announced the previous month was over.

The ISW referred to discussions on Russian Telegram social media channels on Friday, which noted a draft summons received by a St. Petersburg resident who was reportedly told to appear for mobilization in January.

Russian mobilized troops
Residents of Moscow are seen in new military uniform before being sent to the military unit at the mobilization center, October 6, 2022 in Moscow, Russia. The Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Friday that Russia is continuing with a covert mobilization of Russians to fight in Ukraine. Getty Images

It also said that influential nationalist military bloggers (milbloggers) had circulated claims that general mobilization would begin in December or January.

The independent Russian outlet Poligon media reported on Friday that state structures and enterprises are continuing to prepare staff for mobilization by sending them to training programs.

Meanwhile, Russian outlet Pravo.ru reported how a military court in the Moscow region confirmed that mobilization is continuing. It reported the case of a soldier accused of beating his commander "during the period of mobilization," which the ISW noted showed how the draft "is still very much underway."

However, the ISW said that "covert mobilization efforts" and another mobilization wave combined with the current conscription cycle "are likely adding substantial strain to an already overburdened Russian force generation apparatus."

It said that it would lead to "even lower quality training for both mobilized recruits and conscripts as they compete for insufficient training capacity."

After Putin's announcement in September, Telegram channels were full of anecdotes about a botched draft in which mobilized troops complained of a lack of equipment and little or sometimes no training before being thrust into battle.

"Another wave of mobilization in the coming months will only worsen the situation and likely degrade the overall quality of the Russian troops that will be funneled to the frontline in Ukraine," the ISW concluded.

Newsweek has contacted the Russian Defense Ministry for comment.

The partial mobilization announced in September saw many take to the streets in protest and led to an exodus of hundreds of thousands from the country.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said on Thursday that Russia was preparing a draft law to conscript Ukrainians in Russian-occupied territories who have received a Russian passport.

As Newsweek previously reported, this move is expected to meet with strong resistance.