MANTOTAI, Varena District, Lithuania - Russia's decision on a partial mobilization is not unexpected and it shows the country's personnel problems in its war against Ukraine, Lithuanian Chief of Defense Valdemaras Rupsys says.
"Nothing unexpected has happened. It's simply evident that the Russian army is having really big problems in manning up, in restoring their losses, in filling up their units during this war. That step, the mobilization, whatever it may be, partial or not partial, was expected," the army chief told reporters on Thursday while visiting troops patrolling the Lithuanian border with Belarus.
In response to the mobilization, Lithuania has raised the alert level of its rapid response force, and President Gitanas Nauseda is calling a meeting of the State Defense Council next week.
This mobilization covers Russia's entire territory, including the Kaliningrad region bordering Lithuania, and units formed here are likely to be thrown into the war zone, Rupsys said, adding that Lithuania should also be prepared for unforeseen scenarios.
"Units will be manned up there. I guess, and logically, these units will be formed with the aim of taking them to the operation areas, to the war with Ukraine. But we have to be prepared if those units are manned and if something unforeseen happens, so that we can react in time and not take measures when it is too late," he said.
Russia is losing its seized territories in the Kharkiv region, Rupsys pointed out, adding that the Ukrainians are counterattacking and taking back some territories near Luhansk.
"Clearly, Russia is no longer able to defend itself, so they need personnel. The personnel that were there, the Ukrainians have pushed them out, they are no longer able to continue waging the war as they have either withdrawn, or they have been destroyed, or they have been captured, or they simply don't have as much equipment and weapons they need. These are the reasons that forced them (to mobilize - BNS)," Rupsys said.
Also, the question is whether Russia has the capacity to provide arms and equipment to the 300,000 potentially mobilized troops, including logistics and support units, the Lithuanian army chief pointed out.
He did not rule out, however, that Russia may disregard the military practice and send troops who are not fully trained to fight.