A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Aug 29, 2022

Russia's New Army Corps Is Scary - Especially For Those Who Live Near Its Base

Older men, some of whom may have been released from prison in return for 'volunteering' to serve in the Russian army in Ukraine, have generated complaints in the town where they are training that they are drunk by 11am. JL 

Matthew Luxmoore reports in the Wall Street Journal:

The campaign to expand the military’s ranks has caused tension. In Mulino, a town of 13,000 where the 3rd Army Corps has been training recruits, residents have been taking to social media to complain about the men wandering the streets drunk after dark and harassing women. "They’re walking around drunk from 11 a.m.” The think tank the Institute for the Study of War played down the formation’s chances of shifting the military balance in Ukraine, saying in a report that “better equipment does not necessarily make more effective forces when the personnel are not well-trained or disciplined.”

Russia is moving to significantly bolster its forces in Ukraine as its campaign to secure territory in the country’s east and south stalls ahead of planned plebiscites on annexation by Russia.

A series of volunteer battalions formed in recent weeks across Russia is preparing to deploy to Ukraine, officials and military analysts say, including a major new ground-forces formation called the 3rd Army Corps intended to shore up a new offensive in eastern Ukraine and reinforce troops holding off a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south.

Footage posted online purporting to show the 3rd Army Corps training at a Russian military base in Mulino, some 250 miles east of Moscow, displays modern weaponry of a kind rarely deployed to Ukraine, analysts say. However, the U.S.-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War played down the formation’s chances of shifting the military balance in Ukraine, saying in a Saturday report that “better equipment does not necessarily make more effective forces when the personnel are not well-trained or disciplined.”

Conflict Intelligence Team, an open-source investigative group, on Saturday posted photographs of Russian military equipment on railcars, including Buk surface-to-air missile systems and T-90 tanks, that it said were heading to Russia’s border with eastern Ukraine, citing train data published by Russia’s railways service.

The push to shore up Russia’s forces comes as Moscow’s campaign in Ukraine continues to stall and the Kremlin scrambles to find fresh troops willing to help it regain momentum in a war now in its seventh month. It also comes as Kyiv continues strikes against Russian military infrastructure on occupied territory.

Parallel to a nationwide recruitment campaign aimed at filling the undertrained battalions, Kremlin-linked military companies in Russia such as Wagner Group, which have led major offensives in eastern Ukraine, are scouring Russia’s prisons for inmates willing to fight, according to human-rights workers and Russian media.

In May, Russia scrapped the age limit for first-time recruits, allowing citizens over 40 to sign up. On Thursday, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s military to increase its ranks by 137,000 soldiers starting in 2023, increasing the number of troops to 1.15 million from 1.01 million, according to official figures.

Retired U.S. Navy Admiral James Stavridis, appearing on Sunday’s telecast of NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said the troop situation reflects Russia’s dire straits and could encourage Ukraine to mount a major counteroffensive soon.

 

“Now [Mr. Putin] needs to bring new troops just to fight,” said Mr. Stavridis, who formerly served as the supreme allied commander of NATO. “On the strategic level, I think he’s failed in this war. I don’t see him recovering, but he still wants to focus on taking Donbas. That is his new objective and he needs new soldiers to do that.”

But the campaign to expand the military’s ranks has caused tension. In Mulino, a town of around 13,000 where the 3rd Army Corps has been training recruits, residents have been taking to social media to complain about the men wandering the streets drunk after dark and harassing women.

“The whole village is suffering because of these volunteers,” a woman identifying herself as Ksenia Glotova recently wrote on Russian social network VK. “They walk around in groups and harass. It would be one thing if they were being trained and stayed on their base. But they’re walking around drunk from 11 a.m.”

“They’re proud of the fact they’re going there [to Ukraine],” another user, Yekaterina Horoshavina, wrote. “They say they’re going to defend us, but based on what we’ve seen we won’t be sleeping very calmly.”

As its forces in the east steel for an intensified Russian push, Ukraine has continued targeting military infrastructure in areas occupied by Russian forces. On Sunday, the exiled mayor of Russian-held Melitopol in the south, Ivan Fedorov, said a Ukrainian strike had hit a major Russian military base on the territory of a car factory in the city.

“The enemy is feeling uneasy on our territory,” Mr. Fedorov said in a TV interview on Sunday. “We’re banking on them soon leaving our temporarily occupied Melitopol in a gesture of goodwill.”

Russia didn’t immediately comment on the alleged Ukrainian strike in Melitopol, which comes as Russian-installed officials in the surrounding Zaporizhzhia region and neighboring Kherson continue preparations for what they are referring to as referendums on the question of joining Russia. Ukraine has denounced the plans as an illegal effort to annex Ukrainian territory, and officials in Kyiv have said residents will effectively be voting at gunpoint.

0 comments:

Post a Comment