Ukraine’s Military Intelligence has stated that Russia has forcibly mobilised about 60,000 men in Russia-occupied territories of Ukraine.
Since the beginning of 2022, Russians have forcibly mobilised 55,000 to 60,000 men into its army in the occupied territories of Ukraine, said Military Intelligence representative Andriy Cherniak in a commentary for the Donbas Realities programme on Radio Liberty.
Russia forcibly mobilised 60,000 men in occupied territories of Ukraine – Intelligence
According to the official, Russian invaders caught people on the streets and forcibly took people from enterprises. Chernyak added that Russians recruit people from newly-occupied territories and Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
To put it simply, for a full-scale war against Ukraine, Russia is forcibly using men from Ukrainian regions captured during the hybrid war that began with the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
Let’s look at this data from another angle. Not only from the point of view of the violation of the rules and customs of war (where Russians excel) but also from the point of view of Russia’s consistent strategy of using the human resource of the colonised territories to continue its aggressive actions. And also in terms of quantitative comparison with NATO and EU countries.
First, let’s translate these figures into comparison with NATO members. 60,000 troops is the total number of armies of some European countries. For example, it is the size of 3 Hungarian armies. It is twice as large as the armies of Bulgaria and the Czech Republic or almost equal to the army of Canada.
In this context, we should also pay attention to the known facts of the Russians’ use of mobilisation of mostly ethnic minorities from remote regions for the war with Ukraine. That is, Moscow uses for its wars the peoples it enslaved decades or centuries ago.
Potentially, Russia could mobilise Ukrainians for its war against the West
Following this logic, if the Russians managed to take over Ukraine in weeks, as the Putin regime hoped, they would undoubtedly set about mobilising Ukrainians for a war against NATO. Russian invaders could mobilise hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of Ukrainians. As they mobilise residents of annexed Crimea for the war against Ukraine.
This example shows why Ukraine is now defending not only its territorial integrity but also the security of Europe. Therefore, NATO’s support for Ukraine through the supply of weapons contributes to the free world’s fight against authoritarianism, which brings war and destruction.
Supporting Ukraine is also a contribution to ensuring security, peace and stability in European countries, especially in Eastern and Central Europe.
Forced Russian mobilisation in the occupied territories of Ukraine
According to Ukrainian intelligence, Russia is also forcing students from the occupied Ukrainian territories to join its invasion army.
“This is a forced mobilisation: the invaders caught people on the street, they came to the few businesses that were still operating and forcibly took people away – they just changed their clothes and sent them to the front. They promised that you would be on the second or third line, but in reality, people ended up on the front line,” said Andriy Cherniak.
“A person went to class in the morning, and two days later, he was already fighting. Russia does not consider the residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions human beings, so the invaders do not care, and the laws do not apply. The only real possibility [to survive] is to surrender at the first opportunity,” said Andriy Chernyak.
Ethnic minorities used as cannon fodder in Russia’s invading army – reports
Let’s get back to the Kremlin’s current war against Ukraine. The ISW and other international analysts have noted the predominance of non-ethnic Russian battalions in Ukraine, which include troops from Chechnya, South Ossetia, Tuva, Tatarstan, Bashkortostan, Chuvashia and others. The ISW believes that this is Putin’s attempt to place the burden of the war in Ukraine on ethnic minorities to avoid a general mobilisation of ethnic Russians.
Russia is losing more and more soldiers in the war with Ukraine. The Kremlin is trying to replenish these terrible losses in any way possible, while the Russian dictator is afraid to conduct a full-scale military mobilisation openly.
Given the acute shortage of “cannon fodder” for the war, instead of full-scale mobilisation, which is very unpopular in Russia, a covert partial mobilisation was carried out. First, the army recruits men from remote poor regions home to ethnic minorities, particularly from the Far East, North Caucasus, Buryatia, Khakassia, and Yakutia. In large, economically and socially developed cities of Russia, where the majority of the population is ethnic Russians, the military draft is much smaller.
According to the independent Russian media outlet MediaZona, which analysed reports of Russians killed in the war in Ukraine, Dagestan and Buryatia, among the poorest regions of Russia, suffered the most losses. Meanwhile, residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg (home to more than 12% of the total Russian population) are almost absent from the reports of the dead.
Use of colonised population for new wars
Russia’s 300-year imperial history, which began with Tsar Peter’s proclamation of the Moscow Kingdom as the Russian Empire in 1721, has been a history of expansion. It was followed by mass repression, bloody wars and genocide of dozens of local peoples who came across the path of the belligerent empire.
Today’s Russia, in the form of the Putin regime, as a descendant state and successor of the Russian Tsarist Empire and the totalitarian USSR (called the prison of nations), continues the imperial policy of aggression and genocide of peoples.
Moscow’s war is directed at sovereign Ukraine and uses indigenous peoples from remote regions of the Russian Federation as cannon fodder. In this context, it is essential that the Armed Forces of Ukraine, with the help of weapons from Western allies, have repelled Russia’s army in its colonial war stopping the Kremlin’s persisting expansion plans.