Zelenskyy doubts Russia’s mobilization drive is really over

Ukraine, Turkey and the United Nations

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has expressed doubt over Russia’s declaration that its partial mobilisation was over, saying the poor performance of pro-Moscow forces meant more men could be needed.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu earlier said the call-up of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine was complete.

“We have reports the enemy has completed its mobilisation, as if there is no longer a need to send new waves of Russian citizens to the front. We feel very differently on the front lines,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly video address on Friday.

“Even though Russia is trying to increase the pressure on our positions by using conscripts, they are so poorly prepared and equipped, so brutally used by their command, that it allows us to presume that very soon Russia may need a new wave of people to send to the war.”

Shoigu told Putin at a televised meeting in the Kremlin that the president’s order to mobilise 300,000 people had been carried out, with 82,000 already sent to the combat zone while the rest were training.

The mobilisation Putin ordered last month after his forces suffered major battlefield setbacks was the first time most Russians faced a direct personal impact from the war. It prompted tens of thousands of men to flee the country and gave rise to the first sustained public protests against the war.