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After weeks of chaos, Russia says partial mobilisation is complete

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A Russian serviceman addresses reservists at a gathering point in the course of partial mobilisation of troops, in the town of Volzhsky in the Volgograd region, Russia

Russia has completed the partial military mobilisation announced by President Vladimir Putin in September, the Defence Ministry said on Monday.

“All activities related to the conscription … of citizens in the reserve have been stopped,” the ministry said, and no further call-up notices would be issued.

Putin announced Russia’s first mobilisation since World War Two on Sept. 21, one of a series of escalatory measures in response to Ukrainian gains on the battlefield.

Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said at the time that some 300,000 additional personnel would be drafted, and that they would be specialists with combat experience.

But the mobilisation has proceeded chaotically, with many highly publicised cases of call-up notices going to the wrong men. Hundreds of thousands have fled Russia to avoid being drafted.

Putin has publicly acknowledged mistakes were made, and has set up a new coordination council to boost the military effort and ensure that men being sent to the front are properly armed and equipped.

The announcement on Monday – day 250 of the war – did not give a final figure for the number of men called up.

The mobilisation was a tacit admission that Russia is facing serious difficulties in a conflict that Putin still refuses to describe as a war with Ukraine, describing it instead as a “special military operation”.

It brought the war closer to home for many ordinary Russians by confronting them, or their friends and family, with the direct risk of being sent to Ukraine to fight.

Russia still holds large swathes of southern and eastern Ukraine and partly occupies four regions of the country. But it has lost ground even in the past month since it unilaterally proclaimed their annexation – a move denounced by Kyiv, its Western allies and the United Nations General Assembly as illegal.

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