Russia ‘preparing to mobilise 500,000 conscripts’ – Ukrainian intelligence

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Moscow is allegedly preparing to order the mobilisation of an additional 500,000 conscripts in January – after 300,000 were called up to fight in October.

The initial “partial mobilisation” of Russian reservists sparked panic throughout the country, and caused thousands of young Russian men to flee for fear of being called up.

Vadym Skibitsky, Ukraine’s deputy military intelligence chief, was reported by the Guardian as saying these conscripts could be part of renewed attacks in the spring and summer.

Ukraine believes these offensives would likely be in the east and south.

However, Moscow has denied it is preparing for a new wave of mobilisation.

Vladimir Putin said in December it was “pointless” to consider a new call-up, as only half of those who were mobilised in October are fighting in Ukraine.

But there have been repeated claims by Western agencies that Moscow has continued with “covert” mobilisation.

In Other Developments

* Russia’s overnight bombing of regions in eastern Ukraine killed at least one, officials said on Sunday after Moscow ended a self-declared Christmas ceasefire and vowed to fight on until it defeats its neighbour.

FIGHTING

* Shellfire echoed on Saturday around the near-deserted streets of the Ukrainian town of Bakhmut, focus of the most intense fighting in Russia’s invasion. Reuters could not ascertain the origin of the shells heard in Bakhmut.

* The Russian-installed governor of the Crimean city of Sevastopol said air defences had shot down a drone in what he suggested was the latest attempted Ukrainian attack on a port where Russia’s Black Sea Fleet is based.

* The founder of Russia’s highest-profile mercenary organisation, the Wagner group, said he wanted his forces and the regular Russian army to capture Bakhmut because it possessed “underground cities” that can hold troops and tanks.

DIPLOMACY

* Justice ministers from around the world will gather in London in March to boost international support for the International Criminal Court in its investigations of alleged war crimes in Ukraine, the British government said.

CHRISTMAS

* Tears of joy streamed down worshippers’ faces as Ukraine’s main church celebrated a “return” to Kyiv’s Cathedral of the Assumption on Orthodox Christmas day, shortly after taking control of it from a rival church with alleged ties to Russia.

* President Vladimir Putin praised the Russian Orthodox Church for supporting Moscow’s forces fighting in Ukraine in an Orthodox Christmas message designed to rally people behind his vision of modern Russia.

Photo courtesy of Russian MOD

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