Ukrainian intelligence has predicted that a major Russian military mobilization will be announced today.
Kyiv claims that Russia is likely to mobilize as many as 500,000 conscripts in January. Former Russian intelligence officer Igor Strelkov echoed this sentiment, stating that for Russia to win the war, it would need to launch offensives in Donetsk, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia, an effort which would require at least another half a million soldiers.
Moscow has denied these claims, with former Russian general Andrey Gurulyov stating that many of those previously conscripted have not even been sent to battle. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin previously denied similar plans, before declaring a mobilization in September—a controversial decision that sparked protests across Russia. Furthermore, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu has expressed intent to expand the army to 1.5 million soldiers—400,000 above its current estimated figure.
Given Shoigu’s comments and the likely Russian desire to turn the tide of the war, the predicted mobilization has a strong probability of occurring. If it does, it is likely to conscript citizens from cities and major industrial centers in Russia, dealing a heavy blow to the Russian economy and thus causing even greater pushback from the Russian population.
Laurence is an Analyst and weekly contributor to The Daily Brief, he focuses on geopolitical and economic issues occuring in Europe and Eurasia.