Image ID 2J5A24N Pro-Russian troops and Chechen special forces unit, in front of destroyed administration building
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine (Picture: Chingis Kondarov/Alamy Stock Photo).
Russia

Putin's troops call-up prompts protest fires at military recruitment centres

	Image ID 2J5A24N Pro-Russian troops and Chechen special forces unit, in front of destroyed administration building
Russian President Vladimir Putin has called up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine (Picture: Chingis Kondarov/Alamy Stock Photo).

Fifty-four fires have been started at military recruitment centres in Russia since the start of the invasion of Ukraine, according to reports.

Western officials told Forces News they'd tracked an increasing amount in recent days, saying that 17 of them were between 21 and 25 September following the announcement by Russian President Vladimir Putin to call up thousands of extra troops to fight in Ukraine. 

Three hundred thousand reservists were called up by Russia, as part of a partial mobilisation, as the war in Ukraine continued – a decision described as a "huge mistake".

President Putin claimed the mobilisation was necessary to ensure Russian territorial integrity following a number of set backs on the battlefield.

Western officials believe the decision is leading more Russians to understand what is happening in Ukraine and that is why there has been an increase in protests being held in the country and more people deciding to leave Russia.

They told Forces News their estimates are that about 250,000 have left recently, with 400,000 estimated to have left at the start of the invasion in February.

Watch: Russia's mobilisation will just mean "more dead bodies" for Moscow.

Earlier this month, a former advisor to the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence told Forces News the mobilisation of troops just meant "more dead bodies for Moscow".

"It's 300,000 people who don't want to go to war, there's not going to be any of them happy about going," he said.

"The ones they've got at the moment, all they're doing is just pushing them over the line, basically to die."

The officials also told Forces News the Russian President's recent upping of threats to use nuclear weapons was a "sign of panic".  

Earlier this month, the Prime Minister said the West should not listen to Putin’s "sabre-rattling" and "bogus threats".

Liz Truss was asked how the West should respond to the Russian president's partial military mobilisation and warnings his country would use "all the means at our disposal" to protect itself.

"Instead, what we need to do is continue to put sanctions on Russia and continue to support the Ukrainians because if Putin is allowed to succeed, this wouldn't just send a terrible message in Europe and, of course, huge threats to the Ukrainian population themselves, but it also would send a message to other authoritarian regimes around the world that it's somehow acceptable to… invade a sovereign nation," she said.

The UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD) also said Russian forces "continue to experience personnel shortages", with a vote amending a law that extends punishments for defaulting troops – alongside the announcement of a reservist expansion.

"Putin is accepting greater political risk by undermining the fiction that Russia is neither in a war nor a national crisis in the hope of generating more combat power," the MOD tweeted.