Russia: Expert says Putin 'trying to trade options for himself'
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Vladimir Putin has scrambled to deploy new forces to Ukraine since his mobilisation call last week, with reports of conscripts fleeing Russia or hurting themselves to avoid being drafted. In a major escalation in the war, the Russian President has also held referendums in Ukraine’s eastern regions in what experts describe as an attempt to provide cover for the illegal annexation of the regions. A former army officer said those “desperate” actions are evidence Putin is “definitely losing” the war.
Former defence attaché Simon Diggins told Talk TV: “I think what he’s trying to do is trade options for himself.
“I link the partial mobilisation with the increase in the regular armed size of their armed forces in August at over a million people. That included 100,000 odd combat troops.
“What I think he is trying to do is trade options for himself in the new year and probably in the spring or early summer.”
“The figure of 300,000 is interesting. They come from the Russian defence ministry,” Mr Diggins said.
“Other reports suggested that it could be up to a million people that’d be mobilised.
“What does seem to be happening is the figures are not necessarily based on previous service but in some cases local governments are just given quotas.”
An unnamed Kremlin source told independent Russian media that the hidden paragraph seven of the presidential decree allows the Ministry of Defence to mobilise one million people.
The number is significantly higher than the 300,000 conscripts Putin claimed would be drafted in a televised speech last week.
Looking at the deployment of untrained Russian soldiers, Mr Diggins said of Putin: “He’s desperate. He’s definitely losing.
“I think it’s important to draw a distinction between losing and lost.
“And he has not accepted in his own mind that he’s lost.”
Reports have been emerging from Russia claiming drafter fighters have been deployed to the front with less than one day of training.
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In a desperate effort to mobilise more soldiers, Russian officials and pro-war propaganda have used several tactics like promising financial rewards and paying conscripts’ mortgages.
Sergei Tsekov, a member of Russia’s Federation Council, has also called for the Russian border to be closed “to ban anyone who is of military age from travelling abroad” amid the outflux of Russians fleeing the country.
And the patriarch of Moscow Kiril claimed over the weekend that death during the Ukrainian campaign “washes away all sins” in a bid to win over further support.
According to the latest update by the British Defence Ministry, “Many of the drafted troops will not have had any military experience for some years… They are likely to suffer a high attrition rate.”
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