Putin Leaves Door Open for More Mobilization in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin will not end decree that has led to call-up of thousands.

Vladimir Putin appears to have allowed for future waves of mobilisation after declining to end a decree that has called up tens of thousands of Russians to fight in Ukraine.

Russia’s defence ministry last weekend announced the end to the “partial mobilisation” that Putin declared in mid-September.

Yet Russian legal activists and media noted that only the Russian president had the authority to end the mobilisation, leading Putin on Monday to claim he “hadn’t thought about that” and would “speak with lawyers”.

Yesterday, the Kremlin announced that Putin would not sign any order.

Moscow is walking a fine line, managing the public backlash over its mass mobilisation while retaining leverage over the Russians who have already been called up and those who may be mobilised in the future.

The Kremlin’s decision means that the Russians who have been mobilised will remain in service until Moscow ends the invasion of Ukraine or decides to “demobilise” them.

And if the Kremlin does want to mobilise more Russians, it won’t need a new presidential order to do so.

Meanwhile, Russian MPs have suggested tough five-year prison sentences for draft-dodgers, and Russian draft offices said they would receive access to more public data.

In a report yesterday, the Russian defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, said 87,000 out of 300,000 mobilised Russians had been sent into the conflict zone.

Many have complained of being sent there without formal training, with broken equipment, a shortage of weapons, and unclear orders.

Yesterday, the Kremlin repeated an accusation that the UK was behind the explosion that damaged the Nord Stream pipelines, which carry gas from Russia to Europe, in September.

Earlier, the Russian defence ministry accused the UK of aiding Ukraine in its raid on the Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol last weekend.

Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin spokesperson, said Russia was considering what “further steps” to take in connection with its allegation. “Such actions cannot be put aside,” he said.

“Of course, we will think about further steps.”

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