Russia’s “partial mobilization” of citizens to fight in its war against Ukraine has been completed, President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.
Asked during a news conference if he would sign a decree ending the conscription drive he announced on September 21, Putin replied he would consult with lawyers over the next steps.
“Frankly speaking, I didn’t even think about it. I will discuss with lawyers whether it is necessary to announce by decree that it has been completed,” he said at the event in the Black Sea resort of Sochi. “But it’s completed. The line has been drawn.”
The Russian Ministry of Defense said in a statement Monday that all mobilization activities, including the delivery of summons, was complete.
Citing the ministry, Putin said 41,000 of those recruited were currently in combat formations of the Russian Armed Forces.
“That is, almost 260,000 people are not participating in any hostilities but are being trained,” Putin said.
Some context: Moscow’s conscription drive has been beset by errors, caused angry protests and prompted a mass exodus since it was announced in September.
Protests have erupted in ethnic minority regions, and some military enlistment offices have been set on fire. The original announcement also sparked rare anti-war demonstrations across Russia.
The country was forced to heighten security measures at military registration and enlistment offices “due to increasing attacks” on those facilities, a senior Russian official said in a previous CNN report.
Countless Russians have fled the country as a result of the partial mobilization. More than 200,000 people traveled from Russia into Georgia, Kazakhstan and the European Union in just the first week, collective data from those regions showed.