Russian mobilization: Implications for the Russia-Ukraine war


    The Russian call for mobilisation on September 21st has implications for the course of the ongoing war. Since then, large numbers of Russian men have left the country to avoid enlistment. Meanwhile, President Putin sent signals to the West with implicit threats of escalation accompanied by sham referenda in occupied territories. As Ukraine advance and is pushing Russian forces back, internal splits are evident. The Russian regime is now balancing on a thin edge of maintaining its ability to counter the Ukrainian offensive as well as defending the war effort internally. As large numbers of men have left the country into Europe. There is also a threat of covert operations on European soil in the coming months.

    KJ1: It is highly likely that the call for mobilisation will be followed by strategic decisions spurring further escalation in the next 6 months.

    • On September 30th President Zelenskiy proclaimed that Ukraine will apply for a fast-track NATO membership [source].
    • At the annexation speech on September 30th President Putin made implicit threats of escalation stating that Russian territory will be defended with all means available [source].
    • Even though modern Russian strategic nuclear capabilities may not be fully integrated [source], there are an estimated 6000 nuclear weapons at its disposal [source].
    • On October 1st, Ukrainian troops liberated the annexed city of Lyman [source].
    • On October 1st Chechnyan leader Ramzan Kadyrov urged Moscow to consider the use of low yield nuclear weapons [source].
    • On October 4th reports were released indicating that Ukrainian troops had a breakthrough in the southern parts of annexed territories [source].
    • An estimated 1000 Russian troops and several artillery divisions are currently on Belarusian territory along with 130 personnel from the Wagner Group [source].

    KJ2: It is likely that the Russian mobilisation will induce further domestic discontent in Muslim majority states the next 6 months.

    • Attacks on Russian enlistment centres have spiked after President Putin’s call for partial mobilisation [source].
    • Protests have erupted in Dagestan as minorities are claimed to be specifically targeted by mobilisation [source].
    • In Crimea, the mobilisation is perceived as a way for Putin to get rid of the minority Tatar population [source].
    • As protests are raging, the Russian government launched a propaganda campaign seeking to deflect blame from President Putin [source].
    • After October 1st internal splits are evident among Putin supporters following retreat from Lyman [source].
    • In an attack on October 15th 11 was killed and 15 wounded at a Russian military facility as two men opened fire [source].

    KJ3: It is likely that Russian operatives will use the mobilisation as cover for infiltration in European countries like Finland and Norway in the next 6 months.

    • Since Putin’s call for partial mobilisation on September 21st an estimated 261,000 men have left the country [source].
    • During the course of the war Russia has maintained its ability to destabilise democratic countries through covert action [source].
    • The threat level of spies is increasing in Europe, mostly from Russia [source].
    • Since the start of the war Russian citizens have been buying real estate in Finland at an accelerating rate [source].
    • German embassies report of a spike in Russians applying for German visas [source].
    • As Finland, Poland and the Baltic states have closed their borders for Russian tourists, the entry point at Storskog, Norway is still open [source].
    • On September 28th unidentified drones were detected near Norwegian oil and gas installations [source].
    • On October 13th a Russian citizen was arrested and detained after Norwegian found two drones in his car [source].
    • On October 14th Norwegian police investigated reports of a drone flying above the Kaarstoe gas plant [source].

    Intelligence Cut-Off Date: October 17th

    Oscar Rosengren
    Oscar Rosengren
    Oscar Rosengren is a student at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm. His main focus area is the Sahel Region and West Africa. Specific interests are asymmetric threats, mainly terrorism, covert action, and cyber threats.

    Table of contents


    Get the weekly email from Grey Dynamics that makes reading intel articles and reports actually enjoyable. Join our mailing list to stay in the loop for free!

    Related contents

    Subscribe to our Free Newsletter!