Is Russia considering mass military action to bring more soldiers to Ukraine?

Russia is still not considering mass military mobilization, officials said, amid Ukrainian claims that the country has suffered more than 53,000 casualties in its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

“Right now — no, it’s not on the agenda,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told the media when asked if the authorities are considering full or partial mobilization, the reported Russian state news agency TASS.

Under current legislation, Russia can call on its reserves of soldiers and sailors under the age of 45 and officers under the age of 55 if it declares mobilization.

According to human rights expert Pavel Chikov, declaring the mobilization would legally recognize that Russia is at war with another country.

Russia has never declared war on Ukraine. Instead, the Russian government describes its unprovoked attack as a “military special operation.”

“To declare general mobilization, to declare war, is to admit defeat. Recognizing the non-performance of those tasks assigned to the ‘special military operation,'” said Vadym Skibitsky, spokesman for the Department of Intelligence of Ukraine’s Defense Ministry in July.

According to the US think tank Institute for the Study of War (ISW), should Russia declare mobilization, the deployment of reservists should not significantly increase the country’s combat effectiveness in Ukraine.

While Russia boasts on paper of having a reserve of more than two million ex-conscripts and contract employees, according to a 2019 analysis, only about 4,000 to 5,000 soldiers could be considered an active reserve in the Western sense.

Historically, fewer than 10% of conscripts receive refresher training in the years after they leave active service, according to the ISW.

“Russia lacks the administrative and financial capacity to continuously train reservists,” the think tank said in a statement.

Russia suffered 53,300 combat casualties among its personnel between the start of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24 and Tuesday, according to the Ukrainian military.

Russian losses included 2,175 tanks, 4,662 armored fighting vehicles, 244 aircraft, 213 helicopters and 1,279 artillery systems, among others, according to the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine in its latest loss report.

The Russian authorities recently launched a recruitment campaign to try to make up for losses in Ukraine.

However, “severe staff shortages” have led the Russian military to recruit soldiers in homeless shelters and seriously consider hiring convicted criminals, a US official who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity claimed. International Business Times has not been able to independently verify this information.

A Ukrainian soldier sits next to a destroyed Russian tank near Lysychansk on FridayAFP / Anatolii STEPANOV

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