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.
“At this moment – no, it is not on the agenda,” Dmitry Peskov, spokesperson for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told media when asked if authorities were considering full or partial mobilization, Russian state-owned news agency TASS reported.
Under current laws, Russia can call on its reserves of soldiers and sailors younger than 45 as well as officers younger than 55 should it declare mobilization.
Declaring mobilization would legally recognize that Russia is at a state of war with another country, according to human rights expert Pavel Chikov.
Russia never declared war against Ukraine. The Russian government instead refers to its unprovoked attack as a “special military operation.”
“To declare general mobilization, to declare war means admitting defeat. To recognize the non-fulfillment of those tasks that were set for the ‘special military operation,'” Vadym Skibitsky, spokesman for the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence’s Main Directorate of Intelligence, said in July.
Should Russia declare mobilization, the deployment of reservists is unlikely to materially increase the country’s combat power in Ukraine, according to the U.S.-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).
While Russia boasts of having a reserve of more than two million former conscripts and contract servicemen on paper, only around 4,000 to 5,000 troops could be considered an active reserve in the Western sense, a 2019 analysis found.
Historically, fewer than 10% of conscripted soldiers receive refresher training in the years after they completed their active service, the ISW said.
“Russia lacks the administrative and financial capacity to train reservists on an ongoing basis,” the think tank said in a statement.
Russia suffered 53,300 combat losses among its personnel between the start of the invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24 and Tuesday, according to data provided by the Ukrainian military.
Russian losses also included 2,175 tanks, 4,662 armored fighting vehicles, 244 aircraft, 213 helicopters and 1,279 artillery systems, among other pieces of military equipment, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine said in its most recent casualty report.
Russian authorities recently started a recruitment drive to make up for losses in Ukraine.
However, “severe manpower shortages” have led to the Russian military recruiting soldiers in homeless shelters and seriously considering enlisting convicted criminals, claimed a U.S. official who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity. International Business Times could not independently verify this information.