A leading member of the Russian opposition living abroad has said that the Kremlin’s latest mobilization plan for its war on Ukraine has failed and the Ukrainian army will liberate Kherson in the near future.

Speaking in an exclusive interview for Kyiv Post on Tuesday, Oct. 18, former Duma lawmaker Ilya Ponomarev said:

“It seems that Putin couldn’t reach his target to mobilize 300,000 people. I believe that the unofficial target was even higher – perhaps around one million conscripts.”

He underlined that according to the latest report from the Russian Ministry of Defense, 225,000 have been mobilized, of whom 70,000 are volunteers. It means that the number the Kremlin has managed to recruit was even lower than the official target.

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“I believe that this does not make any significant difference on the front. The  Russian army is now retreating and on some sections of the front they are fleeing. There is a huge threat to [Russian-occupied] Kherson. I am sure that Ukraine will liberate Kherson in the near future,” Ponomarev added.

Vladimir Putin announced a “partial” mobilization in Russia on Wednesday, Sept. 21. At the same time, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke of plans to call up 300,000 reservists. However, the media reported that the actual figure was three or even four times higher.

Mobilization in the Russian Federation was chaotic: army summons were even sent to dead people and parents with large families.

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Men of conscription age began leaving Russia en masse from the end of September. According to Forbes Magazine’s sources, as of Oct. 4 between 600,000 and 1 million citizens had left Russia from the time mobilization was announced.

According to the Security Service of Ukraine, mobilized conscripts appeared on the front in Ukraine at the beginning of October. Military intelligence reported that they arrive without proper training and are not provided with everything they need, including military uniforms.

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