When assembling the bigger picture from various fragments of information, it becomes clear that the Russian military is indeed preparing for a second round of mobilization, which may start right after the Christmas break – which in Russia is right now.
Head of the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) intelligence center, Col. Margo Grosberg, says that further more, the first wave of mobilization of reservists in Russia has actually not ended yet, contrary to popular belief, and has merely halted in those regions where quotas have been met.
Speaking at a Ministry of Defense press conference Friday, Col. Grosberg said: "It has been (put together) from various pieces of information that preparations are being carried out in the provinces. One instance comes from the Krasnodar region (in southern Russia, close to Ukraine – ed.), where a printer has been ordered to run off 5,000 mobilization call-up slips."
"After the end of the Christmas break, we can expect that a new wave [of mobilization] will be instigated /.../ Next week will bring clarity: ie. will the second wave of mobilization begin, and how will that proceed," he went on.
Around 300,000 Russian reservists mobilized in the first wave issued in September last year have either completed training or are undergoing it, and in a month-and-a-half to two months, they will be deployed to the front, or near to the border, he added.
Based on the experience of the first wave, it could be stated that reservist training takes two to three months, which means that if the second wave is announced soon, it will reach the front in late March to early April, Grosberg noted.
A 36-hour Christmas truce Vladimir Putin announced Thursday is nothing more than an psy-ops move, Grosberg added, one which portrays the Russian regime as being generous and prepared for peace – but which in reality buys time for forces to regroup.
Kremlin mouthpiece Dmitry Peskov said in mid-December that there was no possibility of a ceasefire to mark western-calendar Christmas.
Currently there are no major battlefield developments, Grosberg added, though efforts by Russian troops to attempt to surround the city of Bakhmut, as with Mariupol, are noticeable, and may progress from an attack on Soledar, to the north, to a bypass to the south, in effect initiating an attempted siege.
Editor: Andrew Whyte, Marko Tooming