ISW: Kremlin urgently recruits more troops after defeat in Ukraine

Ukrainian forces counteroffensive operations continue in eastern Ukraine, putting increasing pressure on Russian positions and logistics lines in eastern Kharkiv, northern Luhansk and eastern Donetsk Oblast. Russian sources reported that Ukrainian forces continued land operations southwest of Izyum, near Liman and on the east coast on the Oskil River, reportedly forcing Russian forces to withdraw from some areas in eastern Ukraine and reinforce others.

This is stated in the daily analysis of the situation in Ukraine by the Institute for the Study of War (ISW).

Russian forces in eastern Ukraine likely to struggle to hold their defensive lines, if Ukrainian forces continue to advance east.

Kremlin responds to defeat around Kharkiv region, by doubling down on cryptomobilization instead of announcing a general mobilization.

Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov called on all federal subjects to start “self-mobilization” and not wait for the Kremlin to declare martial law. Kadyrov stated that every federal entity must prove its willingness to help Russia, by recruiting at least 1,000 troops instead of giving speeches and holding fruitless public events. Several loyalist Russian governors publicly supported Kadyrov’s speech.

The Russian-appointed head of occupied Crimea, Sergei Aksyonov, announced the formation of two volunteer battalions on the peninsula in support of Kadyrov’s calls.

Kadyrov denies any retreat in Ukraine

He defines such news as “Western provocation”

The defeat around Kharkiv region caused Kremlin to announce recruitment campaign across Russia. Kremlin officials and state media have not previously issued calls for nationwide recruitment, instead tasking local officials and media to generate the force, seemingly on their own initiative. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov vaguely welcomed the creation of the battalions on July 12, while 47 loyal federal entities advertised and funded the campaign to recruit regional volunteer battalions.

Prominent Russian military blogger and supporter of general mobilization praised officials like Kadyrov for taking on the campaign for recruiting from the inefficient Russian Ministry of Defense. This shift in recruitment is likely to garner more support for the Kremlin among nationalist figures increasingly critical of Russia’s defense force, even if the drive does not generate large numbers of combat-ready soldiers.

Ukrainian authorities report strikes in the center of Kharkiv

So far, there is no information about casualties or serious damage

The Kremlin has probably given up its efforts to protect federal entities from campaigns for recruitment, which can increase social tensions. ISW previously reported that the Kremlin had tried not to publicly campaign among Moscow residents for the formation of the Sobyanin Regiment, a volunteer regiment based there.

Russian opposition publication The Insider noted that several groups in the republics of Buryatia, Kalmykia, Tiwa and Yakitia (Sakha Republic) have publicly opposed the Kremlin’s emphasis on ethnic recruitment.

The statement of Margarita Simonyan for “self-mobilization” sparked a flurry of negative comments among Russians calling for Russian oligarchs to pay and fight in the war.

On September 15, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced that the Russian military construction complex is building a new, modern “military city” in Sarnovodskoye in the Chechen Republicand the city will reportedly contain over 50 sites to house Chechen-based units.

The front line in eastern Ukraine approached the borders of the LPR

The front line in eastern Ukraine approached the borders of the LPR

The Ukrainian counteroffensive continues

ISW also pays attention to Russia’s efforts in the occupied territories themselves. The Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, announced on September 14 that Russian forces are encouraging Russian military service there. Forcefully or even voluntarily mobilized Ukrainian civilians with no military experience, ordered to fight their better-trained compatriots, is unlikely, however, to significantly increase Russian combat power in Ukraine.

The separatist Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) is likely trying to stop the escape of its administrators before the Ukrainian counter-offensive, which shows the bureaucratic instability of the DPR. The State Defense Committee of the DPR awarded one-time compensation for injuries in the amount of 3 million rubles and for death in the amount of 5 million rubles to the families of officers, civil servants and employees of the Ministry of Emergencies of the DPR killed in the line of duty your duties – promising to pay civil servants is seen for the first time.

Since the beginning of the invasion Russian occupation forces are struggling to staff local administrations in the occupied Ukrainian territories due to the lack of willing Ukrainian collaborators and competent bureaucrats.

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Updated

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Russia also supports the “One China” principle

The withdrawal of Russian forces from Central Asian states deserves attention in the context of border clashes between Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan in three separate incidents and against the backdrop of the renewed aggression between Azerbaijan and Armeniawhich is a member of ODKS.

The Kremlin has almost certainly drained much of the forces initially stationed at Russian bases in former Soviet states since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine began in February, likely weakening Russian influence in those states. A Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) investigation reported on September 14 that the Russian military has already deployed approximately 1,500 Russian personnel from the Russian 201st military base in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in Ukraine since the start of the full-scale invasion and plans to deploy an additional 600 personnel from facilities in Dushanbe and Bokhatar, a southern Tajik city, in the future.


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