Putin Mobilizing Medically, Mentally 'Unfit' Troops to Ukraine: General

Retired U.S. Army General Jack Keane on Thursday criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's partial mobilization efforts and said that some of the reservists the Russian military is calling into service are medically and mentally "unfit."

Keane's comments came after Putin announced Russia's first partial mobilization since World War II, which Russian officials have said means that the country's military could call up to 300,000 reservists to the war in Ukraine.

In an interview on Fox News, where Keane is an analyst, the retired general was asked if it would be possible for Putin to get the additional troops onto the battlefield.

"The far right is pushing him for greater action, they want full mobilization. He knows that would be a catastrophe. He can't get there politically because of the opposition. You can see his opposition in the streets just by calling up 300,000 reservists right now," Keane said.

Putin Mobilizing Medically, Mentally 'Unfit' Troops: General
Above, an activist holds a single-person picket in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin in central Moscow on September 22. Retired U.S. Army General Jack Keane on Thursday criticized Putin's partial mobilization efforts and said that some of the reservists the Russian military is calling into service are medically and mentally "unfit." Alexander Nemenov

"We wouldn't even see them on the battlefield for three or four months, and then when they do join the battlefield, some of them are medically unfit, some of them are physically unfit, a lot of them are mentally unfit in the sense that they really don't want to be there. And then they're going to join a military force that's already displayed a significant amount of incompetence, I don't believe they're going to be decisive," the retired general added.

Newsweek has reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian defense ministries for comment.

In an interview with Newsweek this week, Sean McFate, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and an adjunct professor at Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, called Putin's move to partially mobilize the country an "act of desperation."

"He's emptied all the jails and he's used up all the mercenaries, and now he is going to turn to core Russia," McFate said.

Last week, Yevgeny Prigozhin, a Russian billionaire who the U.S. government has said is the manager of Wagner Military Group, an elite paramilitary force that has sent mercenaries to fight in Ukraine, reportedly pitched a plan on Russian prisoners fighting in the war.

Mikhail Kasyanov, a former Russian prime minister, told Newsweek in an interview published Thursday that he believes Putin's partial mobilization call will lead to his ouster.

"His decision means that even those people who were neutral or supported Putin, in general, will start reconsidering their attitude because of the fact that they are now obliged to go to a war they were previously watching," Kasyanov said.