Moscow: Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reported to President Vladimir Putin in a televised meeting Friday, with 300,000 summoned for duty, the precise number Putin had requested.“We have stopped sending notices to people, and the task you set, 300,000 people, has been completed,” Shoigu told Putin in the meeting, which was scripted. “No further measures are planned.”
According to Shoigu, 82,000 soldiers have been sent to the conflict zone in Ukraine, with half of those assigned to active duty units and others continuing to do combat training. “Over 1,300 government representatives, 27,000 entrepreneurs, and 13,000 volunteers were called up and joined the ranks; the average age of those mobilized is 35 years,” Shoigu added. Officially, mobilization in Russia ends only once the president issues a decree, but such a document was not immediately published on official government websites Friday evening. Russians are paying careful attention to the details because little about the so-called “partial mobilization” had gone as planned, at least until Shoigu’s announcement that Putin’s exact target had been reached.
With severe losses on the battlefield, including Russian troops being ousted from a large stretch of territory in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, which Russia had occupied for months, Putin announced the mobilization on Sept. 21, saying it was needed to restore the military’s depleted ranks. The unpopular move was seen as an admission that the war in Ukraine was not going as planned and triggered a mass exodus of fighting-age men, with hundreds of thousands fleeing the country, primarily to neighboring Georgia and Kazakhstan. Flights were sold out; border crossings were jammed.