National Security Council Official Says Putin Is Struggling – White House National Security Council Coordinator John Kirby this week said that Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Wednesday announcement of a “partial mobilization” of troops in Ukraine is a “sign that he’s struggling.”
Kirby said on Wednesday that Putin was expected to call upon a large number of troops to assist in Ukraine, but that his announcement this week signals that the war has entered a new stage.
The White House official also told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the 300,000 troops sent for training before being deployed to Ukraine is “almost twice as much as he committed to the war back in February of this year.”
While Kirby admitted that Putin’s military is struggling, he also warned that Putin’s recent veiled nuclear threats will be taken seriously and the United States will ensure “severe consequences” if Putin follows through on his threat to use nuclear weapons in defense of “Russian” territories.
“It’s irresponsible rhetoric for a nuclear power to talk that way, but it’s not atypical for how he’s been talking the last seven months, and we take it seriously. We are monitoring as best we can their strategic posture so that if we have to, we can alter ours,” Kirby also said. “We’ve seen no indication that that’s required right now.”
What Will the Ukraine War Look Like Now?
While some of the 300,000 reserve soldiers may be ready to be deployed in the coming days and weeks, many require refresher courses and additional training to ensure they know what to expect and how to use the weaponry when they arrive in the Donbas region.
Strained by the lack of experience of members of the reserve and the heavy losses of leading military officials, the Russian military may take longer to achieve certain goals and require more weaponry to push back against advanced rocket launchers still being used by Ukraine.
The Russian military will likely see many recruits refuse to go to war, even if they do face years in prison under amendments to law passed by the Russian State Duma this week. Under new articles added to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, “voluntary surrender” and “looting” are punishable by between 30 and 10 years, and up to 15 years respectively.
A senior U.S. defense official told the press in a briefing on Monday that the Kremlin is “increasingly straining” to find new recruits to “fill out their think ranks” and that soldiers already on the battlefield are “performing so poorly that the news from Kharkiv province has inspired many Russian volunteers to refuse combat.”
With a thinning pool of inexperienced soldiers to choose from, as well as a lack of advanced weapons, we could see the war in Ukraine become increasingly dependent on strikes on civilian territories, bombardments with non-guided missiles, and increasingly severe threats of nuclear war.
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.