New Russian conscripts are likely being sent to the frontline with “minimal or no training at all”, British defence chiefs have said.
Vladimir Putin’s troops were already stretched to provide training for the 300,000 extra troops announced in its “partial mobilisation” in September, and “these issues will be compounded by the additional regular autumn annual conscription cycle”, the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in an update on Saturday.
The cycle, announced on September 30 and starting on November 1, is usually expected to bring in an additional 120,000 personnel.
“Newly mobilised conscripts likely have minimal training or no training at all. Experienced officers and trainers have been deployed to fight in Ukraine and some have likely been killed in the conflict.”
“Russian forces are conducting training in Belarus due to a shortage of training staff, munitions and facilities in Russia. Deploying forces with little or no training provides little additional offensive combat capability,” the MoD said.
It comes as Putin endorsed the evacuation of civilians from parts of Ukraine’s southern Kherson region on Friday, the latest sign of Russia’s retreat in one of the most bitterly contested areas in Ukraine.
The Russian-installed deputy governor of Kherson region said a 24-hour curfew had been imposed in Kherson city, amid what he said was a likely Ukrainian offensive against the city.
Putin had said civilians in the Kherson region should be evacuated from the conflict zone, his first acknowledgement of a deteriorating situation in a region he claims to have annexed.
Ukrainian forces using captured weapons fired at Russian targets near the key eastern city of Bakhmut in the Donetsk region, as fighting dragged on in an area that Moscow is trying hard to capture.
In diplomatic matters, Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz condemned threats to use atomic weapons in Ukraine, with Mr Scholz warning that Russia risked “crossing a line” in the international community by resorting to nuclear force.
The foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) economic powers said any use of chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by Russia would be met with severe consequences, renewing their call on Moscow to end the war in Ukraine.