26 Sep, 2022 20:35
Kiev will not call up additional troops in response to Russia’s partial mobilization, a presidential adviser said
Ukraine will not announce additional mobilization in response to the referendums on joining Russia currently underway in the eastern part of the country, Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, told German TV program Tagesschau on Monday.
“We have already created reserves through the territorial defense system and will actively use these reserves. We should not announce additional mobilization today,” he told the outlet. “We have everything, and we are ready for more Russian troops.”
Podolyak insisted Ukraine was losing far fewer soldiers than Russia, echoing the words of Zelensky, who said last week that his army was suffering at least 50 daily casualties but that Russian losses dwarfed that figure by a factor of five. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu had announced just days earlier that, while Russia has lost 6,000 troops since the beginning of the offensive in February, Ukraine has lost about 61,000. According to the Ukrainian side, about 55,000 Russian soldiers have been killed. According to the CIA, by the end of July Russia had lost more than 15,000 troops in Ukraine. British intelligence reported 20,000 deaths back in June.
The Ukrainian presidential adviser also claimed Russia uses 90% of its firepower destroying critical and civilian infrastructure and the civilians who need it, blaming its military for wiping out 1,200 settlements in areas Kiev has been shelling for eight years. Amnesty International had earlier criticized Ukraine for stationing its soldiers inside residential buildings, schools and hospitals, denouncing the use of civilians as human shields as a violation of international humanitarian law.
While Ukraine may not need additional manpower just yet, Podolyak said, a military victory would require tanks – and not the low-budget Soviet variety, either. Only “Western-style machines such as the Leopard 2” will do, he told his German audience.
Ukraine and Germany have locked horns over Berlin’s refusal to supply Leopards, with German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht declaring earlier this month that her country had reached its limit for supplying military aid, and could not give away more weapons without endangering its own security. Germany has already delivered Singer anti-aircraft missile systems, Gerard anti-aircraft gun tanks, and Panzerhaubitze 2000 self-propelled howitzers to Ukraine, but Kiev – and even some German officials – are unsatisfied with anything short of the Leopards.
Referendums on joining Russia are underway in the Russian-controlled eastern regions of Kherson and Zaporozhye as well as the independent Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. Moscow announced a partial mobilization last week.