Russia Declares End of Mobilization Campaign; US Sending $275 Million More Military Aid to Ukraine

Reuters
By Reuters
October 29, 2022Russia–Ukraine Warshare
Russia Declares End of Mobilization Campaign; US Sending $275 Million More Military Aid to Ukraine
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) attends a meeting with Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, on Oct. 28, 2022. (Sputnik/Mikhail Metzel/Handout via Reuters)

FRONTLINES NORTH OF KHERSON, Ukraine—Russia said on Friday it had finished calling up reservists to fight in Ukraine, having drafted hundreds of thousands in a month and sending more than a quarter of them already to the battlefield after a mobilization campaign that was its first since World War II.

The United States, meanwhile, announced it would send another $275 million in military assistance to Ukraine, including arms, munitions, and equipment from Pentagon inventories, bringing U.S. military assistance to the country under the Biden administration to more than $18.5 billion

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Washington was working to provide Ukraine with air defense capabilities it needs, with two initial sophisticated anti-aircraft NASAMS ready for delivery to the country next month.

He said the United States was also working with allies and partners to enable delivery of their own air defense systems to Ukraine.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he doubted Moscow was finished calling up soldiers.

The mobilization drive has seen tens of thousands of men flee the country and gave rise to the first sustained public protests against the war.

“The task set by you of [mobilizing] 300,000 people has been completed. No further measures are planned,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu told President Vladimir Putin at a televised meeting in the Kremlin. He said 82,000 had already been sent to the combat zone and the rest were training.

Putin thanked reservists “for their dedication to duty, for their patriotism, for their firm determination to defend our country, to defend Russia, which means their home, their family, our citizens, our people.”

Both men acknowledged “problems” in the early days of the call-up. Shoigu said initial issues in supplying newly mobilized troops had since been resolved. Putin said mistakes had probably been inevitable as Russia had not carried out a mobilization for such a long time, but that lessons had been learned.

The mobiliszation Putin ordered last month was the first time most Russians faced a direct personal impact from the “special military operation” he launched in February.

More than 2,000 people were arrested in anti-mobilization protests.

Putin ordered the call-up when he endorsed plans to annex Ukrainian lands. The West describes those moves as an escalation in response to battlefield setbacks that showed Russia was on course to lose the war.

Serhiy Gaidai, the Ukrainian governor of Luhansk province, said on Friday Ukrainian troops had practically gained full control of an important road connecting Svatove and Kreminna, major towns seen as the next big battle front in the east. Reuters could not independently verify the claim.

In the south, Ukrainian forces have advanced this month towards Kherson, the biggest city Russia has captured intact since its February invasion. It is at the mouth of the wide Dnipro River that bisects Ukraine and the surrounding region controls land approaches to Crimea, which Moscow has held since 2014.

The Ukrainian advance appears to have slowed in recent days, however, with Kyiv blaming poor weather and tough terrain.

Troops dug into muddy trench lines north of the city exchanged rocket, mortar, and artillery fire.

Ukrainian soldiers manning a 120 mm mortar hidden in bushes loosed high explosive rounds in thundering bursts of flame at Russian positions around a grain silo less than a kilometer away.

Russia has ordered civilians out of a pocket of land it occupies on the west bank of the Dnipro, which includes Kherson city. Kyiv says the evacuation is cover for a forcible deportation of civilians by Russian forces, which Moscow denies.

Sergey Aksyonov, the leader of Crimea, said work had been completed on moving residents seeking to flee Kherson to regions of Russia ahead of Ukraine’s expected counter-offensive.

Ukraine’s general staff said hospital and business equipment was being removed from the area, while extra Russian forces were being deployed in empty homes.

Putin’s escalation in recent weeks has also included a new campaign to rain down missiles and Iranian-made suicide drones on Ukrainian civil infrastructure targets, particularly electricity substations.

Kyiv says the strikes are intended to freeze Ukrainians in winter and an intentional war crime. Moscow says it is permitted retaliation for Ukrainian attacks including a blast on a bridge to Crimea.

In Mykolaiv, a major Ukrainian-held city close to the Kherson front line, a missile blasted a huge crater outside a bakery overnight. Staff said two people were hurt by flying glass.

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