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3 Apr, 2024 17:17

Zelensky lying about Russian mobilization – Kremlin

The Ukrainian president claimed that Moscow was planning to recruit 300,000 new soldiers by June
Zelensky lying about Russian mobilization – Kremlin

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky’s claim that Russia plans to mobilize 300,000 additional soldiers by the summer is “not true,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has stated. Meanwhile in Kiev, Zelensky has expanded his conscription efforts.

Speaking at a joint press conference with Finnish President Alexander Stubb on Wednesday, Zelensky told reporters that he could not say exactly how many troops Ukraine needs to conscript, but that Russia “is preparing to mobilize an additional 300,000 troops by June 1,” according to multiple Ukrainian media outlets.

“This is not true,” Peskov told Russia’s TASS news agency later on Wednesday. 

Back in December, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia had a total of 617,000 service members participating in the special military operation against Ukraine, with nearly 250,000 of that number called up from reserve in the autumn of 2022. Putin added that Russia does not plan to announce a second wave of mobilization. 

In a statement on Wednesday, the Russian Defense Ministry said that more than 100,000 Russian citizens have volunteered for military service since the beginning of the year, with 16,000 signing up in the wake of the Crocus City Hall terrorist attack earlier this month.

“During interviews conducted over the past week…most candidates said their main motive for concluding a contract was a desire to avenge those killed in the tragedy that occurred on March 22, 2024 in Moscow Region,” the ministry stated.

Ukraine, on the other hand, has struggled to replace its fallen troops. Months of Western media reports have highlighted manpower shortages as a growing crisis for the country’s armed forces, and some of Kiev’s Western backers have publicly called on Zelensky to draft younger and younger conscripts to make up for the shortfall. 

Zelensky signed a law on Tuesday allowing 25-year-old men to be drafted, down from 27 previously. The Ukrainian president has also said that his military chiefs are calling for the conscription of up to 500,000 new soldiers, but legislation to authorize this large-scale draft remains stalled in parliament.

According to the latest figures from the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukraine has lost more than 80,000 troops since January. As of last month, Kiev’s total losses since the beginning of the conflict in February 2022 stood at more than 444,000, including 166,000 killed, seriously wounded, or captured during last year’s failed summer counteroffensive, according to Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu.