Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday he expects a long war in Ukraine, but that he saw “no sense” in mobilizing additional soldiers at this point.
Putin told a televised meeting of the Kremlin’s Human Rights Council — a loyal group of journalists, activists and public figures — that Russia would continue to “defend ourselves with all the means at our disposal” in Ukraine. He contended that Russia was seen in the West as “a second-class country that has no right to exist at all.”
“As for the duration of the special military operation, well, of course, this can be a long process,” Putin said, using his preferred term for his war against Ukraine, now in its 10th month.
But he said there was no need for a second mobilization of more soldiers, after a call-up of at least 300,000 reservists in September and October, an order that shocked many Russians. Thousands of men, fearful of being sent to the front lines to fight against Ukraine, fled Russia, driving on clogged roads out of the country if they could, or paying sometimes exorbitant fares to board whatever flights they could get bound for other countries.
Putin said of those called up, 150,000 are now deployed in Ukraine, with 77,000 in combat units and the remainder performing defensive functions. The other 150,000 are still at training centers, he said.
“Under these conditions, talk about any additional mobilization measures simply makes no sense,” he said.__VOA News