Putin’s rushed mobilisation tipped to ‘turn into bodybags quickly’

Russia's mobilisation to turn 'numbers into bodybags' says expert

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A former senior British army intelligence officer has predicted Vladimir Putin’s latest troop surge in Ukraine to end in heavy casualties for the Russian military. Describing the combat-readiness of the troops hastily being assembled by Moscow, Philip Ingram told Express.co.uk that the newly called-up reserves were likely to be thrown into Ukraine as “cannon fodder” given the lack of equipment or training. 

Mr Ingram told Express.co.uk: “If we look at the mobilisation risk that [Putin] has called for an excess of 300,000 reservists to bring them in and put them into the frontline.

“That’s more than a tacit admission that he’s failing on the ground in Ukraine, and the troops that he has got on the ground in Ukraine are at his best, equivalent of regular forces.

“Better trained, better equipped than anything else, these reservists that are coming through are, if they’re lucky, going to get a week or two weeks worth of training, very old weapons, very old equipment if they get any equipment whatsoever.

“[The reservists] are going to be pushed into the frontlines as cannon fodder, not properly trained, not properly integrated into units.”

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“In Russia, whenever reservists are called up, it’s up to the unit and the organisation to train them up properly, well, they don’t have the resources to do that because a lot of them are in Ukraine and fighting at the moment.

“So yes, it’s going to add numbers in there, but those numbers are going to turn into bodybag very quickly, indeed.”

Russia fired cruise missiles at cities across Ukraine during rush hour on Monday morning, killing civilians and knocking out power and heat, in what President Vladimir Putin declared to be revenge for Ukrainian attacks including on a bridge to Crimea.

The missiles tore into busy intersections, parks and tourist sites in the centre of downtown Kyiv with an intensity not seen since Russian forces tried to capture the capital early in the war.

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Explosions were also reported in Lviv, Ternopil and Zhytomyr in western Ukraine, Dnipro and Kremenchuk in central Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia in the south and Kharkiv in the east.

Ukrainian officials said at least 10 people were killed and scores injured, and swaths of the country left without power.

In a televised address, Putin said he had ordered “massive” long-range strikes against Ukrainian energy, command and communication targets, using missiles fired from air, sea and land, in response to what he described as terrorist attacks, including Saturday’s explosion at the Kerch Strait bridge.

“The Kyiv regime, with its actions, has put itself on the same level as international terrorist organisations. With the most odious groups. To leave such acts without a response is simply impossible,” Putin said, threatening more strikes in future if Ukraine hits Russian territory.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday’s rush hour attacks were deliberately timed to kill people as well as to knock out Ukraine’s power grid. His prime minister said 11 major infrastructure targets were hit in eight regions, leaving swaths of the country with no power, water or heat.

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The body of a man in jeans lay in a street at a major Kyiv intersection, surrounded by flaming cars.

In a park, a soldier cut through the clothes of a woman who lay in the grass to try to treat her wounds. Two other women were bleeding nearby.

The Kremlin was humiliated two days ago when a blast damaged Europe’s longest bridge, which it had built after it seized and annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula in 2014. Ukraine, which views the bridge as a military target sustaining Russia’s war effort, celebrated the blast without officially claiming responsibility.

With troops suffering weeks of setbacks on the battlefield, Russian authorities have been facing the first sustained public criticism at home of the war, with commentators on state television demanding ever tougher measures.

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