Russia’s State Duma this week passed new legislation that could push the country to mobilize popular support for the war in Ukraine. A draft law passed by Moscow lawmakers stipulates that Russian soldiers who refuse to fight during periods of martial law and general mobilization will face harsher penalties. Anyone who surrenders “voluntarily” can be sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The draft law could indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin is preparing to mobilize the population to try to strengthen his military in Ukraine. It comes after Ukrainian troops retook large swathes of territory near the city of Kharkiv in a swift counteroffensive.
This was another major setback for the Kremlin and Putin. But, as various experts have pointed out, low morale and poor organization have contributed significantly to the suffering of the Russian military in Ukraine.
Rita Konaev, associate director of analysis at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, says the invasion went so badly that the Kremlin “purged” its military over the course of the war.
Speaking to Vox that qualified leaders within the Russian army are “continuously being purged from the inside,” he added, “We’ve seen a lot of changes, who has the military districts, who is the chief of the airborne troops, the VDV — they.” re Elite Forces – The Commander of the Black Sea Fleets and a number of Junior Commanders have all been continuously replaced.
Ms Konaev said this caused a lack of “institutional knowledge, lack of trust and not enough time to prove an independent concept of how they would reorient and regroup or perform better – there is not enough time to.” implement it”.
She continued: “A lot of this starts with the problems at the top. There’s a certain tension between struggling for power and trying to “shirk responsibility” for Russia’s failures on the battlefield.
“So you always have these levels of leadership that want more leadership and prestige and power, but at the same time nobody wants to be the last to be blamed for all of these mistakes.”
In late August, British defense chiefs claimed that Putin “probably” personally fired six generals for slow progress in Ukraine. This comes as the Ministry of Defense (MoD) also dismissed Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu’s claims that Russia was deliberately slowing the pace of its military advance.
READ MORE: Russia ‘panic’ over Ukraine counteroffensive
In its report, the MoD said: “On August 24, 2022, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told the Shanghai Cooperation Organization that Russia is intentionally slowing the pace of its military campaign in Ukraine, driven by the need to reduce civilian casualties.
“This is almost certainly intentional misinformation. Russia’s offensive has stalled due to weak Russian military performance and fierce Ukrainian resistance. Armed forces operating in Ukraine have repeatedly missed planned operational schedules on Shoigu’s orders.
“It is very likely that Shoigu and President Putin fired at least six generals for not moving fast enough.”
The briefing added: “On the day Shoigu spoke, a Russian short-range SS-26 Iskander missile hit a train in the town of Chaplyne, reportedly killing at least two children.
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“This underscores Russia’s willingness to cause collateral damage if it sees military advantage in launching missile or artillery strikes.”
While Putin seems intent on escalating the conflict in Ukraine, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan believes the Russian president is ready to end the conflict.
Mr Erdogan on Tuesday claimed he had “very detailed talks” with Putin but added that things had become “quite problematic” for Russia.
He continued: “He’s actually showing me that he’s ready to end this as soon as possible. That was my impression because the way things are going now is quite problematic.”