STORY: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday for the first time acknowledged publicly that his military mobilization had not gone smoothly.
In an address, Putin said mistakes had been made in a call-up to reinforce Russia's flagging military operations in Ukraine, and said they should be corrected.
"Many questions arise during this mobilization. Mistakes need to be corrected and they cannot be made in the future. (This is about) those citizens who qualify for deferment. For example, fathers who have many children or people, suffering from chronic diseases, or those who can't be drafted because of their senior age. It is necessary to investigate each case like this separately. If the mistake has been made, I repeat that it should be corrected and return home those who had been drafted unreasonably."
Russia's announcement on Sept. 21 of its first partial mobilization since World War Two prompted thousands of men to flee the country to avoid the draft, and provoked widespread public expressions of discontent, including complaints about enlistment officers sending call-up papers to clearly ineligible men.
Some 2,000 people have also been arrested at unsanctioned anti-war protests in over 30 towns and cities.
Putin said that those who had military experience and training in required specialities should be called up first.
He notably refrained from assigning blame for the errors.