Danielle O’Brien, Editor
On Sept. 21, Russian President, Vladimir Putin, announced a partial military mobilization of the country by drafting 300,000 reservists throughout the country to support the war effort against Ukraine. This announcement comes after the Kremlin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov claimed back in March that the chance for future mobilization to be “nonsense.” It is to be noted, however, that similar statements have been made about the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine. Nevertheless, the Russian President’s calls to mobilize the military has been met with surprisingly more backlash from Russian citizens than the actual war effort itself. The partial mobilization affects those who have previously served in the Russian military and who have experience in combat. Euronews reports that “students or conscripts — young men serving mandatory 12-month terms in the armed forces” (Carbonaro, 2022) will be excluded from this draft for the time being.
Over 200,000 men have fled the country since the Kremlin’s announcement of a partial draft. Russian men eligible for possible military service are reported to be fleeing to Finland, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Turkey. Turkey, a once popular vacation spot for Russians, seems to be standing as a place of sanction for Russian men who are at risk of being drafted. Closer to home, Russian citizens have begun to protest the partial draft at the risk of their own lives. Russian women have been reported to be out in the streets of Moscow, protesting the partial draft of their brothers, husbands, and fathers. It has been reported by human rights organizations that at least 1,300 arrests of said protestors have been made, young men amongst them being served draft papers while being detained. With severe limitations on the right to free speech in Russia against press and citizens alike, demonstrations against the draft account for the large outrage the population have against said order.
On Friday Sept. 30, President Vladimir Putin announced his plans to annex four regions of Ukraine, the largest illegal annexation of territories since World War II. Putin finds the regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhya as belonging to Russia. Within said speech made by the Kremlin, the war was once again framed to be of morals between the “Satanic” West and Russia. However, not only 24 hours after such an announcement, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced its retreat of more than 5,000 soldiers from the city of Lyman located in the Donetsk Oblast region, one of the regions Putin claimed to have belonged to Russia. The loss of Lyman may be critical to the future of the Ukrainian-Russian war. After all, winning back the city of Lyman provides Ukraine the opportunity to take back further regions of dispute such as the Donbass region, something of which has been desperately of value to Putin prior to the war.
Although Ukraine has made advances in reclaiming lost territory from Russia, Putin still threatens to use “any means necessary” to annex desired territories, even if those means are nuclear. Such threats have prompted Ukrainian President Zylysky to petition for fast-track acceptance into NATO, which if accepted would seed responsibility for NATO to support Ukraine in its war against Russia which is something NATO is wary to initiate. Currently, the West is replying by applying more sanctions against Russia, Australia, the United States, and other European Nations included. It is important to note, however, that as to whether sanctions are effective in deterring behaviors is debated amongst political scientists. Aside from sanctions, President Biden pledged Friday to support Ukraine with an additional $1.1 billion in their fight against Russia.