During the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Kremlin faced a significant miscalculation regarding its war plans. Not having adequate manpower for territorial conquest to the defense of occupied territories, Russian President Vladimir Putin called for a partial mobilization.

Partial mobilization was meant to be a turning point in the war for Russia in hopes of overwhelming Ukrainian defenses during their large-scale winter offensive. Instead, it only added to growing problems within the federation that will last for generations.

Commander of the VDV’s 104th Air Assault Regiment’s 2nd battalion, Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Dosyagaev, allegedly killed in Ukraine (Rob Lee). Source: https://twitter.com/RALee85/status/1531066166977908738

Beginning of the War

Despite amassing the most significant invasion force seen on the European continent since World War Two, Russia underestimated Ukraine’s resistance and willingness to fight. Reckless ambitions such as attempting to launch paratroopers into Hostomel Airport and encircle Kyiv with inadequate forces cost Russian Forces a sizable amount of their invasion force.

Further Pyrrhic victories in Mariupol and Severodonetsk in the spring of 2022 depleted the invasion force, which was full of professional and contracted troops. Taking these two cities was strategic, but the exhaustion of manpower and armor was critical. The Ukrainian Armed Forces (ZSU) would take advantage of it later in the fall.

Manpower Issues that Ukraine took advantage of

To counter Ukraine’s growing military capabilities, Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of Russian Forces. The move came at a time when the Kremlin promised no conscription, but the Ukrainian lightning offensive in Kharkiv was too much to bear in shame.

The partial mobilization had some positive effects as Russia bolstered front lines facing collapse, such as the Svatove-Kremmina line, and used the remaining conscripts on the left bank of Kherson and fronts of Donetsk. Though stabilizing the front to keep Russia from further military disasters, as seen in Kharkiv and Kherson, its effects on the overall war and economy would be known in 2023.

The Partial Mobilization and Effects on the Battlefield

The mobilization had worked to stabilize the frontlines—especially as Ukraine and Russia had become short on logistics, such as 155mm shells and armor. The Kremlin activated the T55 tanks due to losing 40% of its prewar tank fleet, while Ukraine successfully made emergency requests for modern tanks, jets, and air defense systems.