Russian army reservists ordered to active duty in President Vladimir Putin’s conscription of 300,000 troops have begun arriving in Ukraine to join a faltering invasion that has lasted for more than half a year and sparked protests throughout Russia.
A senior military official at the Pentagon said Mr. Putin’s latest move, combined with a widely derided annexation vote in occupied areas of Ukraine, is “certainly something to be concerned with.”
“When you talk about the mobilization of upwards of 300,000 people, it’s much harder to generate that force than I think folks will say,” the military official told reporters on Wednesday.
According to social media reports, at least one of the newly deployed Russian troops has been killed in combat in Ukraine. “The mother was going back and forth on social media about the loss of her son,” the military official said.
The Pentagon said it could take several weeks to determine where most of the Russian conscripts will be sent.
“But, if you look at where the Russians are having problems, it’s really all over the battle space,” the senior military official said.
The Pentagon said Moscow has mobilized military troops only twice in the past — in 1914 and in 1941 — only during world wars.
“That certainly says a lot about what the Ukrainians have been able to do to the Russian army,” the senior military official said.