Russia is in a hurry–that is obvious. Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu previously disclosed that the country had lost nearly 6,000 soldiers since the invasion of Ukraine started; US intelligence puts this number at a much higher estimate of 15,000 as of mid-July.
President Vladimir Putin upped the ante by announcing a partial military mobilization, aiming to beef up his troops battling in Kiev. Shoigu estimates to draft around 300,000 reservists and civilians with military service experience.
The nation, however, is seemingly getting creative in getting draftees for the mobilization. After the announcement broke, Russian demonstrators took it to the streets to protest the order in at least 38 Russian cities, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg. It is said to be the largest wave of protests since the war broke in Ukraine.
In response, Russian authorities detained around 1,300 of these protestors, as unsanctioned rallies are outlawed. The catch: some of the detainees are reportedly being signed as draftees for the mobilization.
One-way tickets out of Moscow have sold out fast immediately after; so much so that Russia deemed it a threat and ordered airlines to stop selling flights to men aged 18 to 65.
“My husband was detained on the Arbat, taken to the police department on Sokolina Gora, and there they issued a summons to the military registration and enlistment office for tomorrow. He signed it. There is a military commissar,” said a wife of a detained Muscovite.
OVD-Info, a Russia-based human rights organization, said detained protesters were handed over summons to the military registration and enlistment office in at least three Moscow Departments of Internal Affairs. Similar reports are coming out of other police departments, including in Voronezh.
The speed of deployment seems to be rather inconsistent as well for draftees. While Shoigu reiterated that the reservists will receive their military training before deployment, local enlistment offices are reportedly stating that some of the signees might have to be sent for war without training.
Putin announced the partial mobilization move seemingly in his attempt to reverse the course of the ongoing war, with Ukrainian troops advancing to reclaim some Russia-occupied territories.
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