Sunhurovskyi: the AFU "Meat Processing Plant" will process Putin's 300,000 soldiers, the invader has lost everything. Interview

September 23, 2022

Vladimir Putin, the leader of the Russian aggressor state, will not get the expected effect from his partial mobilisation. It will be very difficult for the state machine to recruit the declared 300,000 fighters. Most likely, replenishment of the occupier's army will take place in waves, in portions. And all this "cannon fodder" will be methodically "processed" by the Armed Forces of Ukraine. To do this in the most efficient way, it is necessary to step up the Western aid.

In the Russian Federation, protests broke out against the background of the announced mobilisation, but they definitely lack a leader. There is only one force in that country capable of initiating an overthrow of the regime – the FSB. This opinion was expressed in an exclusive interview with OBOZREVATEL by the Razumkov Centre of military programmes director Mykola Sunhurovskyi.

— The Chinese leader said that their army should be ready for real military operations. What kind of a possible armed confrontation may he talk about?

— He meant military actions to defend Taiwan. The US has said that it will not leave Taiwan alone vis-à-vis China, it will use its military to defend Taiwan.

— May we assume that at the opportune moment, the Chinese army can move into Russia? In particular, because the Far East has actually been left without an army. Is this option ruled out?

— Why? China will buy the Far East. Why use troops there? It already bought half of it. I don't see any sense in this. But there is another question. In case of riots in Russia, non-state military provocations on the border — yes, troops can be used, but not against Russia, and not to occupy Russia. It will take Russia with money. This is not a problem.

As far as I understand, China has not come to a conclusion on what will happen to Russia at this point. It needs that country as a tool of countering the US, so that it can counter it not itself but with Russian hands. Therefore, it makes sense for it to keep Russia in such a weakened state.

But at the same time, China is closely watching processes of internal decomposition in Russia. And if these processes take on any real forms, China will, of course, take advantage of them. But, I think, without the armed force. It will simply bring its businessmen there, put them in the right places, seize the key positions. Troops may be used there only for administration, if any.

— If the Russian military are so weakened, may China provide military assistance to the Russian Federation?

— No, I don't think so, because in this case, China will also be subject to sanctions, which means huge losses of logistic routes and money due to the cut trade ties with the West, the USA. So, China continues to provide Russia with verbal support. Perhaps it provides technical assistance through some secret channels. But troops? I can't imagine that. Chinese troops have never fought outside their borders, except for Korea.

— Let us proceed to mobilisation announced by Putin. First, will he be able to gather 300 thousand? Second, if it succeeds, to what extent will this worsen the situation on the battlefield for us?

— I do not think that he will collect all 300 thousand, although in principle they have such a possibility. The fact is that the capacity of the conscription system is 130,000 per year. This exceeds their planned capacity 2.5 times. I have no idea what they will do with it.

Shoigu cited the mobilisation reserve at 25 million, which, as I understand it, is the male population of Russia in the age of 18 to 60. In fact, the Russian Federation has a mobilisation reserve of about 8 million, with account of those who receive deferments for medical reasons, etc. So it turns out to be even less.

They can collect 300,000, and not one-time but in waves. For example, they recruit 30,000, somehow dress them... Their economy cannot cope with this — to dress, shoe, train and send these 300,000 to Ukraine. This is a huge burden on both the security system and the transport system, because they have to be transported. Some cargo will be lost somewhere.

They will probably be able to arm them. There are so many automatic weapons there that they will be enough for three wars.

Now, how it will affect the front. Imagine that you have a meat processing plant. A certain amount of raw materials, in our case – cannon fodder, is received at input. Will the plant be able to process it? It depends on the processing capacity. After all, we receive military and technical assistance from the West. If it is proportionally increased, then in principle it will not affect the course of hostilities. 

The meat processing plant, called "The Armed Forces of Ukraine", worked and will work, but at a double capacity. That's the difference. In reality, it is cannon fodder. After all, they will have no time to train. People just go to slaughter.

The convicts whom Prigozhin recruited in prisons changed their 15-year terms for the death sentence. I think when they get here and hear bullets whizzing by their heads, they will react immediately. After all, they are prisoners, their self-preservation instinct is developed better than in ordinary people. They will all end up in Russia with arms in their hands. Russia should think about this. Especially in the border regions — it will be a nightmare.

— Deputy Defence Minister Hanna Maliar emphasised that Putin announced mobilisation a day later, and assumed that in this way the aggressor tried to minimise the effect of liberation of our defenders. Why do you think his speech was delayed?

— Hard to say. Maybe because of that. But why did he come out with such a proposal now? Because, roughly speaking, he has already lost everything. At the front, he does not succeed, he suffers defeats. In the foreign policy, we remember how he was welcomed at the Shanghai Organisation meeting. No one seriously supported him there.

In addition, Turkey begins to trip him up. It passed almost unnoticed, but on September 1, a meeting of defence ministers was held in Istanbul. Northern Cyprus, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan. In fact, [some of these states make] the core of the CSTO. Apparently, Turkey has seen that Russia is falling, and began to subdue Central Asia now.

Putin has nothing left, apart from nuclear weapons. That is why he came out with this decree. A few hours later — I don't think it's related with the exchange of prisoners, because it's rather a long procedure that was prepared for more than one month. It may be a coincidence of some factors, or health reasons.

— You said that Turkey foresees the beginning of disintegration of Russia. Look, as soon as Putin announced the mobilisation, protests began in the Russian Federation. Can this process become massive, bring down this government and Putin along with it?

— I wish to hope but the problem is that all these protests are not organised. Who will lead, who will direct them, whom to follow? They will be packed in prisons — that's all. This movement should be target-minded.

There is no opposition in Russia, only a pocket one. The middle class wears shoulder straps. Whom to follow? Yes, the radicals have some marginal parties, they can lead. But they will lead the mob to the fence and run away, while all those people will be imprisoned.

Serious organisation is required. I know only one such in Russia — ironically, it is the FSB. The clans sitting there cover up the Russian economy. Of course, they are unhappy with the sanctions. They are the first to be dissatisfied with this regime. And they probably have such opportunities. They have agents in the regions, in all organisations. One may expect this from them. How it will be organised, I cannot tell in detail.

— Do you assume that the FSB may be at the forefront of such centrifugal processes in the Russian Federation?

— Yes. I do not think that it will be done by their hands directly, but such signals may come from them. Many of their agents may suitable for the role of regional leaders. They can be told: come on, comrades, you have the cards in your hands, and then you have to pay. Someone has compromising information, someone can be lured with money. I would try, in their place.


Mykola Sunhurovskyi

Director, Military Programmes

Born in 1951 in Moscow.


Orenburg Higher Military Air Defence Forces School (1972);

Kyiv Air Defence Forces Academy (1982);

Higher School of Entrepreneurship, Kyiv Institute of National Economy (1991).

Ph. D. in Technical Sciences, Senior Research Fellow, the author of more than 90 publications.

Colonel (Ret.) with 31 years of military service, half of that term — at research institutions. Research profile — systems analysis, strategic planning, analysis methods, national security.


Most recent position in state bodies — Department Chief at the Analytical Service of Ukraine's NSDC Staff;

Since December 1999 — Razumkov Centre Programme Co-ordinator;

Since February 2000 — Freelance Consultant to the National Security and Defence Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine.

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