Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday claimed his country’s so-called partial mobilization of reservists to fight in the Ukraine war, announced last month, will end in around two weeks.
“This work is already coming to an end,” Putin said at a press conference in Astana, where he traveled to participate in a conference. “There are now 222,000 people mobilized in the troop formations, out of 300,000. I think that within about two weeks all mobilization activities will be completed.”
Putin also said that “nothing further is being planned … within the foreseeable future,” as his defense ministry had not requested further troops.
Opposition within Russia to mobilization has been significant, with media pundits and politicians voicing unusual levels of concern over reports that some men who ought to have been exempt from the draft — because they were too old, had incapacitating health conditions, or little to no experience — had been called up to fight.
Protests also broke out around Russia in opposition to the mobilization decree, announced September 21, as reports emerged that it was disproportionately targeting ethnic minorities and rural and remote communities, while flights out of the country sold out as military-aged men sought to evade conscription.
In justifying his decision to draft 300,000 Russians after a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive in September led Kyiv to recapture thousands of kilometers of occupied territory, Putin said at the press conference: “It is impossible to maintain the 1,100-kilometer line of contact with troops consisting only of contract soldiers.”
Speaking to reporters after Putin’s comments, the president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov also claimed that mobilization “will be completed by the end of the month.”