Putin has 'three doubles' claims Kyrylo Budanov
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Vladimir Putin’s admission mistakes have been made is evidence his mobilisation is flawed, the Ministry of Defence has said. Russia’s first public mobilisation is nearing its second week, but its chaotic implementation has seen complaints over enlistment officers sending call up papers to ineligible men as well as sparking the flight of thousands of fighting-age men from the country in a bid to avoid the draft. Some 2,000 people have been arrested at anti-war protests in over 30 cities and towns with some given call-up papers.
Putin spoke about the mobilisation at a meeting of his National Security Council on Thursday, acknowledging “questions” were being raised about the campaign and “mistakes” needed to be corrected “promptly”.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD), in an intelligence update issued today (October 3), said: “Putin’s unusually rapid acknowledgement of problems highlights the dysfunction of the mobilisation over its first week.”
The statement added local officials were “likely unclear” about the exact scope and legal rationale of the mobilisation campaign.
It read: “They have almost certainly drafted some personnel who are outside the definitions claimed by Putin and the [Russian] Ministry of Defence.
“As drafted reservists continue to assemble at tented transit camps, Russian officials are likely struggling to provide training and in finding officers to lead units.”
The MoD briefing comes as thousands of Russians mobilised for military service in Ukraine have been sent home.
The military commissar of the Khabarovsk region has also been removed in the latest setback to Putin’s conscription of 300,000 servicemen.
Mikhail Degtyarev, Governor of the Khabarovsk region in Russia’s Far East, said several thousand men had reported for enlistment during 10 days, but many were ineligible.
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Mr Degtyarev said in a video post on the Telegram messaging app: “About half of them we returned home as they did not meet the selection criteria for entering the military service.”
He said the region’s military commissar was removed, but his dismissal would not affect the mobilisation.
The mobilisation was billed as enlisting those with military experience, but has often appeared oblivious to individual service records, health, student status and even age.
Meanwhile, on the battlefield, Putin suffered a stinging setback on Sunday with Ukrainian forces claiming full control of Russia’s eastern logistics hub, Lyman, their most significant gain in weeks.
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Putin ally Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Russia’s southern Chechnya region, on Saturday called for a change of strategy “right up to the declaration of martial law in the border areas and the use of low-yield nuclear weapons”. The United States says it would respond decisively to any use of nuclear weapons.
Mr Kadyrov said: “Nepotism in the army will lead to no good.” He added the commander of Russian forces in the area should be stripped of his medals and sent to the front line with a gun to wash away his shame with blood.
Public contempt for the generals running Russia’s war is significant because it indicates the level of frustration within Putin’s elite over the conduct of the war while also undermining the Kremlin’s carefully controlled narrative.
Mr Kadyrov, who supports the war and has sent many of his own Chechen units to fight, said his criticism was the bitter truth about a Russian fighting force which he said allowed talentless mediocrities to let down the country.
Other hawkish Russian figures on Saturday criticised generals and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on social media for overseeing the setbacks but stopped short of attacking Putin.
The Chechen leader said he had raised the possibility of a defeat at Lyman two weeks ago with Valery Gerasimov, Chief of Russia’s General Staff, but Mr Gerasimov had dismissed the idea.
Mr Gerasimov, 67, is the third most powerful man in the Russian military after Putin and Defence Minister Shoigu.
mR Shoigu landed Mr Gerasimov the top military job just a few days after he was appointed defence minister in 2012.
Mr Kadyrov said: “I do not know what the defence ministry reports to the supreme commander-in-chief (Putin), but in my personal opinion, more drastic measures should be taken.”
Asked about Mr Kadyrov’s remarks, the powerful founder of the Wagner Group of mercenaries Yevgeny Prigozhin congratulated the Chechen leader. Mr Prigozhin, known as Putin’s chef due to his company’s Kremlin catering contracts, said in a statement: “Ramzan – you rock man! All these bastards should be sent barefoot to the front with automatic guns.”
When asked if his words should be considered criticism of the Defence Ministry, Mr Prigozhin replied with irony: “God forbid”.
Mr Prigozhin, who the US says runs a mercenary army which has been involved in conflicts in Mali, the Central African Republic, Libya and Syria, said: “These statements are not criticism, but merely a manifestation of love and support. I, and Ramzan Akhmatovich even more so, are the most cultured of people.”
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