“LDNR” mobilization designed to sow panic, cover possible engagement of Russian regulars: Opinion

forced mobilization in occupied Luhansk

A group of Luhansk locals illegally conscripted by the occupation authorities of Luhansk, standing in the gymnasium of the Luhansk Pedagogical University made into a "station for the mobilization gathering of citizens."

Twitter blogger @samotniyskhid from occupied Luhansk Oblast commented on this screenshot from a video published on social media on 19 February: "The Russians wanted a beautiful picture of crowds of real Donbas men rushing to draft offices for mobilization. In reality, all the things emerging on the web are small groups of those who apparently failed to hide. The rest are sitting at home without any desire to 'protect the republics'." 

War in the Donbas

Editor’s Note

Amid Russia’s escalation in Ukraine’s Donbas region and attempts to create false-flag pretexts to invade Ukraine, the illegal general mobilization ordered by the occupation authorities of Donetsk and Luhansk (“DNR” and “LNR”) on 19 February is nothing but an attempt to cover the possible engagement of Russian regular troops, and sow panic among locals, believes an inhabitant of Donetsk Oblast living under Russian occupation.

The author of this article is a resident of east-Ukrainian Makiivka, the satellite city of regional capital Donetsk. Maintaining anonymity due to safety risks, he publishes insider reports and reflections on Twitter, mostly on the issues of the local economy and situation in general, under the pseudonym “Iosif Pinochet.”

Having access to the occupation force’s military sources, he states that “DNR” wouldn’t fling the forcefully conscripted locals into battle, because in case of a new hot phase in the Donbas war, the occupation authorities count on Russian regular forces to step in again as they did before. 

Earlier “Iosif Pinochet” was an initiator of a journalist investigation which found that Russia supplied ammunition and fuel to the occupied part of Donetsk Oblast by rail in January 2015 amid the Battle of Debaltseve. He had also investigated the schemes of coal supplies from the occupied territories to free Ukraine.

The preparations for mobilization of the population under occupation kicked off back in November 2021 with preparing lists of inhabitants and putting together the military registration cards. The process was slow and dragged on for a long time. The next inspection in the 1AK (“the first army corps” – Donetsk-based army under the Russian control, – Ed.) revealed a complete failure in implementing all the prescriptions, and many heads came off.

At the same time, the accumulation of military materiel and POL (petroleum, oils, and lubricants) began using the railway and roads. Everything was carried out as secretly as possible so as not to attract attention.

We must honestly admit that they’ve succeeded. I was doubtful to the end and was not sure about the preparations for a big war.

As early as mid-January, a large number of the measures and the frequency of the drills unequivocally hinted at preparing for something serious, but what exactly? Even [“DNR head”] Pushilin doesn’t know an answer to this question – you can have no doubts about it. An order is to be relayed at the very last moment for the sake of surprise.

Video from occupied Luhansk showing the “LNR military commandant’s officers” taking men off the street and forcibly putting them on buses allegedly for forced conscription:

Last Friday, 11 February, my sources in the 1AK made it clear that the mobilization wasn’t fiction, a mobilization order had already been written and the process of issuing draft notices was underway. Roughly by 11 February, everything was ready, the only obstacle was serving the military draft notices – as banal as it is, there simply were no people to do serve them.

In such conditions, their decision was to engage city administration employees, medical personnel, and teachers in the distribution of the notices.

That’s what they’re doing right now — they’re delivering the draft notices to apartments and homes. I don’t know the exact number of the notices, but I think we are talking about 50,000-60,000 people.

The population was faced with the fact of mobilization in a typically Russian manner – at the very last moment. Of course, for the most part, no one is going to go to the military recruitment office. Those who serve the draft notices are sabotaging the whole process – there are few people willing to fight for who knows what. The mobilization will fail.

People are in a state of prostration and on the verge of hysteria. In addition to the mobilization that looks more like initiating a flurry of activity, there is a fake evacuation of women and children. No one hides the fact that this fuss is done solely for the sake of the TV picture.

To summarize, it should be noted that the rear part of the 1AK is completely unprepared to put 50,000 soldiers and officers under arms. It’s just a cover-up operation and sowing panic among the civilian population under occupation. In case of a hot phase of the war, the regular troops of the Russian Federation’s Armed Forces will go to war again (the Russian regular troops were actively engaged in military operations against Ukraine in the Donbas during the hottest periods of the war, in summer 2014 and winter 2014-2015, – Ed.).

Editor’s Note

“As I wrote, the mobilization has died, they begin letting people go home and wait,” Iosif Pinochet told Euromaidan Press.

Nevertheless, earlier today an anonymous IDP from Donetsk, who’s been monitoring the local sources since 2014, wrote a warning on Twitter, saying that the occupation authorities started raiding separate neighborhoods in Donetsk for forced conscription:

“Now they are blocking the Shyrokyi [settlement]. What they do is block the entrance to a staircase and [check] the apartments, [taking] men to the military draft office, [saying] ‘we will figure it out there.'”

This may mean that the occupation authorities could have now focused their efforts on searching separate neighborhoods, rather than all over the entire occupied territory at once.

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