In his regular evening address, President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russia is preparing a new wave of mobilization as he held phone conversations with the Prime Ministers of Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and Norway.
Zelensky stated that Ukraine is “preparing for this” and called on the international community to strengthen defense support in response to the potential threat.
The Ukrainian president said he does not doubt that “the current masters of Russia will throw everything they have left and everyone they can muster” to try to turn the tide of the war and “at least postpone their defeat.”
“We have to disrupt this Russian scenario,” he stressed, adding that he is grateful to those of Ukraine's partners who share this view.
“Any attempt at their new offensive must fail," Zelensky said. "This will be the final defeat of the terrorist state. Russia mobilizes those whom it wants to throw to death, we mobilize the civilized world.”
On Dec. 30, Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov similarly warned Russian citizens in a video address that the country’s leadership is preparing for a new wave of mobilization and plans to close the border within a week.
“I know for a fact that you have about one week left before you still have any choice,” Reznikov said, speaking in Russian.
“In early January, the Russian authorities will close the borders to men, declare martial law, and begin another wave of mobilization. Borders will also be closed in Belarus,” he said.
Earlier on the same day, Kyrylo Budanov, head of Ukraine’s Intelligence Directorate, said in an interview with the BBC that Russia is planning a new wave of mobilization starting Jan. 5 due to a lack of manpower.
Russia has lost over 105,000 soldiers in its war against Ukraine, according to the latest figures by the Ukrainian General Staff. Suffering defeats on the battlefield, Russia has also had to rely on the Kremlin-backed private mercenary Wagner Group to bolster its forces, who are known to recruit from among Russian prisons to fill its ranks.
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin declared a “partial mobilization” on Sept. 21, aiming to draw nearly 300,000 new soldiers into the Russian army.
At the time, Putin said that only those up to the age of 35 with military experience or a military-related background would be drafted. Partial mobilization implied that only certain reservists could be conscripted.
However, after the announcement, older men with no military experience, students, and disabled people started receiving draft notices. Over 700,000 people fled Russia following the announcement and ensuing chaos.
Putin later claimed that this partial mobilization had concluded in October, but reports said covert conscription in Russia had continued.