A Washington D.C.-based think tank, known for its neoconservative, hawkish slant, has claimed that Russian President Vladimir Putin could announce a second military mobilization that would strengthen his armed forces in Ukraine.
A report from the think think—the Institute for the Study of War (ISW)—released on Tuesday, January 17th, speculated that the Russian president could make the announcement during his speech in St. Petersburg on 18th of January in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of Soviet forces breaking the Nazi siege of the city, Putin’s hometown—or in the days following the speech.
In its report, the ISW cites Russian war bloggers as well as intelligence gathered from Ukraine and the West.
“Putin is fond of using symbolic dates to address the Russian people, and some Russian pro-war mil bloggers noted that he will seize this opportunity to either declare mobilization or war with Ukraine,” the ISW wrote in their daily analysis of the war, which at this point has been raging for nearly a year.
However, although that date and speech have now passed and no announcement of mobilization was made, a second mobilization could still be likely given Russia’s inability to make meaningful gains in the oblasts of eastern Ukraine.
The ISW’s report comes a little more than a week after Andriy Chernyak, who serves as a spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, said that the Russian president plans to launch a second mobilization of conscripts in mid-January. Chernyak claimed that as many as 500,000 conscripts could be mobilized.
Viktor Sobolev, a member of the Russian State Duma’s Defense Committee, in statements given last week, signaled that a second round of mobilizations could be on the horizon, saying that Russian reservists over the age of 30 and up would be “called up for training in order to learn a military specialty.”
Furthermore, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, on Tuesday, January 17th, announced plans to expand the size of the country’s standing arming to 1.5 million people over the next years. Later that day, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the press that the army’s planned expansion “stems from the war that the countries of the collective West are waging [against Russia].”
Peskov referred to the armed conflict as a proxy war, “which includes indirect involvement in military activities and elements of an economic war, a financial war, legal warfare, steps that go beyond the legal field, and so on. This is what such measures stem from.”
Presently, it remains unclear whether Russian President Vladimir Putin is planning a second round of mobilization.