Russia’s partial mobilization sparks insults from Ukraine

The Ukrainian Defence Ministry on Sunday taunted Moscow’s partial mobilization to strengthen its forces in Ukraine.

The ridicule came in a Twitter mash-up of social media videos of Russian police beating and arresting men protesting the call-up.

This is as Russia’s two top lawmakers conveyed concern about the drive, ordering regional officials to resolve “excesses” that have provoked public anger, prompted demonstrations and spurred military-age men to make for border crossings.

“Russia still has remnants of a professional army” that the Ukrainian army “hasn’t yet destroyed,” the Ukrainian defence ministry said in an English-language tweet, referring to this month’s rout of Russian forces from much of the northeastern Kharkiv region. “Looks like we’ll be ‘de-mobilizing’ these Russians ahead of schedule.”

The mobilization has provoked both sides to trade a fresh round of insults.

In Moscow, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Friday that fake statements on social media were in part to blame for the reaction to the announcement.

“There is now no shortage of explanations and there are opportunities to ask questions,” Peskov said. “We have to look calmly, thoughtfully and objectively at the provocative, huge number of fake statements on social media and not give in to these provocative actions.”

Reports have revealed how people with no military service have been handed out draft papers – contrary to Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s guarantee that only those with special military skills or combat experience would be called up – prompting even ultra-loyal pro-Kremlin figures to publicly express concern.

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