Russian: Kremlin 'downplaying' mobilisation says Ponomarev

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Vladimir Putin made an official announcement drafting up to 300,000 reservists in an effort to bolster his dwindling forces in Russia’s unprovoked war against Ukraine. But the number could be much higher and reach one million, according to an unnamed Kremlin official who leaked the information to independent Russian media. Ilya Ponomarev, exiled former Russian lawmaker, confirmed the figure, saying Putin is actually conducting a “mass mobilisation.”

Reacting to Putin’s announcement of a partial mobilisation, Mr Ponomarev said: “No, I’m not surprised at all. It was very much obvious that his mobilisation would be extremely unpopular among Russians.  

“And that’s why Vladimir Putin was hesistant for such a long time to actually announce it, and even when he made the announcement, he announced that it’s like a partial mobilisation. 

“But in fact, obviously, it’s a general mobilisation. It’s a mass mobilisation. It’s a mobilisation without any significant exemptions.”

Mr Ponomarev said: “It’s a mobilisation that would affect everyone and that’s what we’ve already started to see on the streets of Russian cities.”

When asked to clarify the one million figure reported among Russian news outlets, he said: “Yeah, this one million is the source in the presidential staff in Moscow, which is I would say like a mole.

“But it’s a person who really despises what’s going on. And he leaked the information to several media.

“And that’s a point in the seventh paragraph in Putin’s decree on the mobilisation – the so-called hidden paragraph seven.

Ms Ponomarev added: “And obviously, that was attributed to the number of the records.

“And I think the Kremlin is just trying to downplay the number but one million is the number that I personally believe.”

According to Novaya Gazeta, one million represents the actual number of conscripts who could be drafted to Ukraine.

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The hidden paragraph seven of the President’s decree on partial mobilisation allows the Ministry of Defence to send one million people, instead of the 300,000 reservists Putin announced. 

A source for the outlet said the Kremlin had discussed classifying the entire decree but later decided to mark only the seventh paragraph, wheer the actual number of draftees was written.

“The number was changed several times, but in the end, they stopped at a million,” the source said.

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