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Russia’s Shoigu says partial mobilisation complete, 82,000 recruits in conflict zone

MOSCOW: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday said that the “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine that Russia

announced in September was complete.

Speaking at a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

broadcast on state television, Shoigu told Putin: “The task set by you of (mobilising) 300,000 people has been completed. No further measures are planned.”

Shoigu said that of the 300,000 mobilised recruits, 218,000 remained in training, while 82,000 had been deployed to the conflict zone, of which 41,000 had been assigned to their units.

He said that in future, recruitment for the Ukraine campaign would be based on volunteers and professional soldiers, rather than mobilising more of Russia’s several million reservists.

Putin declared a “partial mobilisation” of 300,000 reservists on Sept. 21, after a series of military defeats saw Russian forces routed from east Ukraine’s Kharkiv region and under increasing pressure in the southern Kherson region.

The move touched off an exodus of military-age men from Russia, with tens of thousands heading for countries including Georgia, Armenia and Kazakhstan, which allow Russians to enter without visas.

Over 2,000 people arrested at anti-mobilisation protests across Russia. There was public outcry over cases of men being mobilised despite medical exemptions, or a lack of military experience.

Responding to Shoigu, Putin

acknowledged problems with mobilisation, saying that they were “inevitable”, and said that it was necessary to make “corrections” to the development of Russia’s armed forces.