Russia Hopes to Mobilize 300,000 Troops by June

( – Ukraine’s president has warned that Russia is planning to bring in hundreds of thousands of fresh troops for a summer offensive. So far Russia has suffered devastating manpower losses that have shattered its prewar army. The country still has deep reserves of people to call on, though, and that isn’t just bad news for Ukraine; it could endanger Western Europe — and even US interests — too.

Zelenskyy Warns of New Mobilization

On April 3, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy told a press conference that Russia is getting ready to mobilize 300,000 extra troops, and aims to have them on the front line by June. His warning came days after Russian leader Vladimir Putin signed an order to conscript 150,000 more men into his battered army — but that draft was a routine one that takes place every spring. Now, boosted by his recent election victory, Putin could be planning a more ambitious military call-up.

In December, US intelligence agencies estimated Russia had lost more than 315,000 troops since it invaded Ukraine in February 2022. That number is likely to have grown by now, as Putin’s forces have launched an aggressive but costly series of offensives.

However, the spring draft and the extra one Zelenskyy is warning of would more than replace those losses. With Ukraine running dangerously low on ammunition, the Kremlin strongman could be pinning his hopes on one last big push to throw the defenders back — and 300,000 new troops could be enough to do it.

So far Ukraine, facing a Russian manpower advantage of almost three to one, has relied on advanced Western weapons and the profligate use of artillery to hold back the Russian Army. Now, thanks to gridlock in Congress and weakness among EU leaders, the defenders are having to ration how many shells they fire, and as Putin moves his economy to a war footing superior Russian firepower is starting to make a difference.

If Ukraine falls, that will leave Putin with a battle-hardened army much larger than it was before the war began. It will still be a battered army, but Western sanctions haven’t had as much impact as hoped and Russia’s rapidly militarizing industry — with help from allies like China, Iran, and North Korea — can quickly replace its lost equipment.

The possibility of a rearmed, reinforced, and experienced Russian army is worrying the leaders of Poland and the Baltic states, who fear Putin’s aggressive land grabs. A Russian attack on any of those countries, which are all NATO members, could drag the US into a major war too.

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