Kremlin speaks out on potential mobilization
The Russian government is not discussing a military mobilization “at this moment,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told journalists on Tuesday. He was responding to a question about Moscow’s reaction to last week’s advances of Ukrainian forces in Kharkov Region.
Moscow pulled back its troops from a number of settlements in the area for what the Russian Defense Ministry described as a “regrouping” necessary to continue the military operation against Kiev.
Peskov said there was “no talk” of mobilization and downplayed some of the criticism that the military leadership and the ministry faced from various commentators over the retreat and Ukrainian gains. He assessed that the Russian public supported Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to attack Ukraine and was “very sensitive” to events there, meaning some people will take last week’s setback very emotionally.
“Criticisms are a normal part of pluralism of opinions, as long as they stay within the legal boundaries,” he said.
Western military experts have been expecting Russia to increase mobilization for months, after their early forecasts of a swift fall of the Ukrainian government failed to materialize. The previous peak of such predictions came in early May, when Russia celebrated the anniversary of its victory over Nazi Germany. Putin’s speech on May 9 included neither a formal declaration of war against Ukraine nor an announcement of mobilization, contrary to what foreign experts anticipated.
Russia sent troops into Ukraine on February 24, citing Kiev’s failure to implement the Minsk agreements, designed to give the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk special status within the Ukrainian state. The protocols, brokered by Germany and France, were first signed in 2014. Former Ukrainian president Pyotr Poroshenko has since admitted that Kiev’s main goal was to use the ceasefire to buy time and “create powerful armed forces.”
In February 2022, the Kremlin recognized the Donbass republics as independent states and demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join any Western military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked.