Ukraine Update 21 September 2022: Putin Ups The Ante

Vladimir Putin has upped the ante in Ukraine and made it clear that he is determined to end the war on terms favorable to Russia. In an address to his nation Putin announced the call-up of approximately 300,000 reservists. The Russian leader cited Western material support for Ukraine as the primary reason for the mobilization. He labeled the move ‘necessary and urgent’ in light of the advanced weapons that the United States and European nations have been pouring into Ukraine since February. Russia’s standoff with the West has not dissipated. Putin accused the West of ‘nuclear blackmail’ and warned that Russia has nuclear weapons of its own. Ukraine’s successful counteroffensive in the northeast has alarmed the Russian government. This was made apparent by Putin’s support for referendums being hastily set up in territories occupied by Russian forces. Annexation of these areas will make them part of Russia. After that, any potential Ukrainian attacks against them can be considered aggressive action against Russia itself. Putin has declared he is prepared to use every weapon in Russia’s arsenal to defend ‘Russian territory.’  

 “If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” Putin said in the address. “This is not a bluff.”

As for the partial mobilization, 300,000 is a significant number of reservists. It will be some time before these citizens-turned-soldier are ready for duty. How useful they will be on the frontlines in Ukraine remains to be seen. Some will inevitably end up there, but not all. Most likely, not even the majority. The move also runs the risk of sewing domestic dissent inside of Russia. Protests broke out across the country in response to the callup. Russian police and security forces detained over 1,300 demonstrators. Although unsanctioned protests can result in prison terms for those found guilty of organizing or attending them, a significant number of Russians chose to take part. The prospect of reservists being called up hits close to home for many Russians. Suddenly the war in Ukraine, which has seemed far away and of little consequence for the average Russian citizen, is now standing at the front door.

Author’s Note: The real world is intruding on us at an inopportune moment.  However, Russia’s decision to mobilize 300K troops and Vladimir Putin’s warning to the west rate a quick Ukraine Update. The Politics D+25 post will go up tomorrow or Friday.

30 Replies to “Ukraine Update 21 September 2022: Putin Ups The Ante”

    1. I saw that. So the younger Russians are running away or protesting. Don’t blame them one bit. But unless the protests take hold and average Russians begin joining in, they probably won’t be enough to dissuade Putin.

      Personally, I wish the war would just end now. I’m so tired of it and the bullshit it has brought upon the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. The issue here of course is that Russia used up a significant portion of their training units in their push to conquer Severodonetsk and Lysychansk during the summer. They don’t exactly have anyone left to train all these new units. And we haven’t even talked about the depleted nature of their equipment and weapons. There are no more modern tanks left to equip these new units.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. These reserve formations won’t be coming online soon. Most of the troops will either be used as replacements or never even make it to Ukraine.
      This move is more of a message than anything else. I think it’s time for both sides to begin negotiating sincerely because if not, we’re looking at a very dangerous winter approaching

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s hard to negotiate with an enemy which routinely insists that you do not exist and commits atrocities left and right on your civilian population.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Guaranteed is a strong word. Six months ago the Russians were at the gates of Kiev. Ukraine has no assurance that Russia won’t rebuild their military and try to go for the kill shot again. If anything, Ukraine is probable extremely paranoid at this point. The only way I see them agreeing to terms is if the economic pain is too great. They’re really struggling at this point.

            Liked by 1 person

              1. Right now it would be Ukraine. Their GDP has nosedived by nearly 30% at this point. The only thing keeping their economy afloat is Western aid.


  2. Opinion: if Russia surges troops right now they’re going to lose 30k and another 500-1000 tanks. NATO will likewise up the ante. Now back in April I *heard reports* that NATO, or at least the US, was looking at Lead/Lease F15’s and 16’s. The Russians should *fear* the F15. The Ukrainian pilots have shown themselves to be as tenacious in the air as they are on the land, and Eagles, with them at the stick, could really do a number, once again leaving divisions uncovered for repeated strikes by Vipers working with Su25s after some SEAD from MiG29s using HARM (dear God did you ever think we’d live to see that anywhere outside of the fever dreams of a wanna-be Tom Clancy?!)

    But again that’s “I heard reports”. I’ve no idea if that’s real.

    To get back to the ground war, the Russians are now sending out press-gangs for these 300k troops. These are *not* western Nasty Girls, these are guys who have little to no training beyond their 12 months on the Dedovshchina ranch. If the 1st GTA was literally rolled up and pushed out of 2.5k sq/km, what chance do these guys have? So with an ongoing lend-lease from the West (I’m not saying “NATO” because it seems like every time someone wants to ship a case of sporks in, Germany forbids it), it’ll just create more Russian attrition. Aside of this, I know you’re not on FB much, Mike, but I saw a hilarious post with some Russia Bros claiming the captured T90’s was all part of some plan…that it shows the superiority of Russian military because they *don’t* destroy their gear because it can be so readily repaired and put back in action…or…something.

    What I am wondering is, is Putin using a surge + Donbas emergency referendums to create a casus belli whereby he can just commit the entire Russian military to the campaign or *worse yet* use theater or tactical WMD?

    Only time will tell.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It would take months to get Ukrainian pilots proficient enough to fly F-15s or F-16s. As a former Eagle Driver, trust me. 🙂

      Oh i saw similar posts on Twitter. The Russian propaganda machine is going full-tilt 🙂

      I’ll answer back your other points later on when I get back

      Liked by 1 person

    2. I don’t think that we have many F-16s or F-15s to spare for Ukraine. The production lines for both planes are a bit occupied right now. Super Hornets might be a better option.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Either way, Vipers, Eagles or Hornets, there’s the matter of training Ukrainian pilots to be proficient in those birds. That takes a while, even if the students being trained are already experienced pilots. It’s hard enough for USAF pilots to make the change to another aircraft type.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I wonder how far they’re going in determining if its worth starting up now. Long term gain I mean, training those guys now. Interesting to think about how it could go, though

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Well regardless of whether it is wartime or peacetime they are going to need new 4th gen fighters. So it’s probably best to start the process right now. Even if a ceasefire is reached they will still need a new air force. On the plus side the Super Hornet line hasn’t received any foreign orders in a while so this might be a good opportunity to extend the duration of that production line.


  3. It may come down to what is either sides bottom line of worst case of a cease fire line they are willing to accept. For the Ukrainians it might be taking back all of Kherson, Zaphoroniye and Kharkhiv oblasts and waving goodbye to the Donbass. If the Russians put that on the table now would they take it or are they emboldened enough by their recent successes to want more? However the Russian right wing would have us believe that everything east of the Dniepr is sacred ground and not up for discussion, which certainly would cause the Ukrainians to keep on going as I’m sure that’s not acceptable to them. Is Uncle Sam happy to keep the Himars/155mm rounds flowing to Kyiv? What is the US stockpile of these and are they able to replenish their own stocks as well as keep handing off to what must seem a neverending demand for arty strikes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Very fair point, Mike. How much more can we afford to keep giving Ukraine? HIMARS and a lot of other weapons and ammo. Our stockpiles are taking a hit and I don’t know how easy it will be to replenish.
      Honestly, we can’t keep handing them weapons and such like its candy. The Ukrainians aren’t even paying for any of it. We’re bankrolling their war.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. To be fair our supply of weapons has essentially ripped the guts out of the Russian military right now. It will take them years to rebuild their army back to its former strength.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. True but I’m concerned with how fast we will replace the ammo and weapons systems we gave to Ukraine. This wasn’t a Lend-Lease type of deal or anything. I hope they pad the next defense budget with enough funds to start replacing everything we handed over to Ukraine.

          Yes, they’ve performed magnificently with the weapons and all, but my main concern is the US military 🙂 The closest comparison I can see to this situation with Ukraine was during the Yom Kippur War in ’73 when we stripped our European depots to supply Israel. Similar situation as well. They were facing defeat.

          Liked by 1 person

              1. I mean when we first threw our support behind Israel we didn’t really know what it was going to become. At the time it was a small insecure state surrounded by hostile powers which were much larger in size. We were really taking a gamble at that point on their survival.

                Liked by 1 person

              2. Right. We did take a gamble. But we needed a loyal ally in the Middle East. That is what it boiled down to. We were farsighted enough to see that our interests in the region were growing and we needed a strong ally to serve as a beachhead. Israel definitely filled that description and still does.

                Liked by 1 person

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