LONDON – According to Russia’s national newspaper the Kommersant, personnel at Russian airlines and airport facilities have begun to receive military conscription notices for service in Ukraine.
The newspaper reports that employees of at least five Russian airlines, including the carrier Aeroflot as well as staff members at over ten airports have received military call-up notices.
This news comes just days after the Russian President Vladimir Putin issued the orders for a partial military mobilisation.
The Kommersant said that sources in three companies say that potentially 50-80% of the employees could be called up, with a source close to top airline Aeroflot saying that over half of the staff at three of the group’s airlines potentially could be drafted.
Kommersant further observed that at least five companies have started to compile, and two have already sent, lists of employees to be exempted from the draft, as the exemption is critical not only for pilots and air traffic controllers, but also for technical, commercial and IT specialists.
Draft of 300,000 reservists
The reported drafts of airline and airport personnel forms part of Russia’s recently imposed plans for the conscription of up to 300,000 reservists to bolster the nation’s ongoing war in Ukraine.
Those conscripted under this week’s draft plan will serve to supplement the huge number of casualties suffered by Russian forces in the conflict.
The Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu made the announcement on Wednesday that around 300,000 reservists would be called up, saying that they would be specialists with combat experience.
Although Putin himself has not taken credit for the conscription call-up, he has put his support behind the Russian defence Ministry.
He described the proposed course of action as necessary “to defend our Motherland and its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories.”
The first wartime mobilisation since WW2
This week’s announcement of the mobilisation is significant as it is the first time such an event has taken place since the Second World War.
Many observers in the West are characterising the move as an act of growing desperation as the war in Ukraine takes its toll on the Russian aggressors.
The mobilisation call-up is to go out to “only military reservists, primarily those who served in the armed forces and have specific military occupational specialties and corresponding experience.”
With respect to the news of the draft of aviation personnel, it is understood that most pilots in airlines are reserve officers trained in military departments of flight schools, or privates who have completed military service.