President Vladimir Putin announced on Friday that Russia will stop calling up reservists in two weeks, putting an end to a divisive mobilization that has seen hundreds of thousands of men called up to fight in Ukraine and a large number depart the country.
Putin also stated that Russia has no plans “for the time being” to carry out further big air strikes like the ones carried out this week, in which it launched more than 100 long-range missiles at targets across Ukraine.
Putin directed the mobilization three weeks ago in response to Russian war failures. In addition, he has declared the annexation of four partially occupied Ukrainian provinces and threatened to deploy nuclear weapons.
Since the start of the war, Russia has witnessed the first symptoms of public criticism of the leadership, and officials have admitted to making mistakes. Ethnic minorities and rural populations have complained that they are drafted at a higher rate than ethnic Russians and city dwellers.
Putin defended the order, claiming that the front line was too long to defend with contract soldiers alone.
He stated that 222,000 of the planned 300,000 reservists had already been activated. “This effort is coming to a conclusion,” he said at the close of a summit in Kazakhstan. “I believe all mobilization activities will be completed in roughly two weeks.”