Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu announced Friday the the end of the partial military mobilization order from last month, having reached the target goal of 300,000 to boost operational support for military action in Ukraine. The moment was captured in a televised event with President Vladimir Putin.
"The dispatch of citizens called up during mobilization was completed today. The notification of citizens [to report for military duty] has ended," state-run RIA Novosti quoted the defense chief as saying.
"The task set by you — to mobilize 300,000 people — has been fulfilled. No additional tasks are planned,” Shoigu told Putin during the televised meeting.
He specified that among the mobilized recruits, some 82,000 are already in the conflict zone in Ukraine and 218,000 still undergoing training.
Putin told Shoigu in the meeting, "Based on the experience of conducting a special military operation, we need to think over and make adjustments to all components of the Armed Forces, including the Ground Forces" - and tasked the defense ministry with implementing the necessary "adjustments" or upgrades.
"During the partial mobilization, over 1,300 representatives of executive power and over 27,000 businessmen were sent to the armed forces. About 13,000 citizens volunteered before they received their conscription notifications, and were sent to the armed forces as volunteers. The average age of mobilized citizens is 35 years," Shoigu continued.
He additionally emphasized that all of those mobilized are now eligible to receive special state benefits as designated combat veterans. "Let’s agree that in December at the annual board after all this work, I repeat once again, including at the expert level, you will report proposals which could be accepted," Putin told Shoigu in concluding the meeting.
Meanwhile, after over a month of reports of widespread Ukrainian gains amid the counteroffensive in the east and south, pro-Kiev forces are said to be slowing - and in some cases being pushed back again, per The Moscow Times, citing a Rand Corporation defense analyst:
Capturing Bakhmut, a salt mining city in the Donetsk region with a pre-war population of 70,000 people, would give Russia a key foothold to launch offensives toward major cities such as Sloviansk and Kramatorsk — and vindicate Moscow’s decision to throw thousands of men at the fight in the past month.
"Bakhmut is one of the few places where Russia has been going forward rather than backward since the summer," [James] Black said.
Absolutely insane and chaotic combat footage from UKR tank. Russian convoy runs straight into UKR 25th brigade fighting near Kherson. Date Unknown. pic.twitter.com/a0eoJlhqxm— D.Emery (@DemeryUK) October 23, 2022
However, a huge concentration of Ukrainian artillery on Russian frontlines - backed and sustained by the recent influx of massive weapons shipments from Western allies - have meant likely big casualty rates for the Russian side, especially as the Kherson area appears to be witnessing a slow Russian retreat. There are signs that Russia is continuing to pull civilians out of the city in preparation for large-scale urban warfare.