Western experts have predicted that Vladimir Putin’s new troop mobilisation will prolong the war but not change the balance on the ground.
They have warned against downplaying the Russian president’s renewed nuclear threat.
Putin announced the call-up of 300,000 reservists – more than the nearly 200,000 mustered to invade Ukraine in February – after his troops lost significant parts of territory seized early in the war.
It came as Moscow signalled it was determined to keep occupied territories in eastern and southern Ukraine by holding local referendums to absorb them into Russia.
Analysts said it was a politically risky move for Putin, with increased domestic resistance to the war and a structure for military mobilisation that has atrophied over the past decade.
“They will not be able to do this well,” said Dara Massicot, a Russia defence specialist at Rand Corp who has researched the mobilisation process.
“They will cobble together people and send them into the front with old training, poor leadership, equipment maintained in even worse shape than the active duty force, and send them in piecemeal because they don’t have time to wait.”
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