With the Kremlin’s blessing, Russian separatists have announced sham referenda in the occupied regions of Ukraine, in which residents will vote on their inclusion into the Russian Federation. The majority of the international community has already condemned the planned referenda and deemed them illegal.
With Ukraine swiftly recapturing territory in its northeast, from Russia, the separatist leaders of the Moscow-controlled Luhansk and Donetsk regions declared on Tuesday they are planning to hold votes later this week for the territories to be able to declare themselves as part of Russia.
Do the Russians truly feel so strongly about the Ukrainian counteroffensive, that after only 6 months they already want to hold a referendum and at such short notice?
Any declaration that the territory is part of Russia would not be recognised by either Ukraine or by the US and its Western allies. In fact, much of the international community would condemn such action.
Russian strongman Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday morning in a highly-anticipated speech that the newly imposed mobilisation would affect reservists and those who had previously served in Russia’s armed forces.
Could it just be that potentially Russia’s “special operation” is under threat?
The country is believed to have up to 2 million reservists, but only a fraction of whom receive regular training. The partial mobilisation decree might see some 300,000 former active units called into action against Ukraine. Lawmakers also voted to bring in a possible 10-year prison term for soldiers refusing to fight.
What are the possible scenarios, what should Russians be fearing in the coming days? Could Russian mobilisation be a real threat, furthermore does it signify an escalation? And how will the international community respond to all this?
To shed more light on the issue, we were joined by Oleksandr Khrebet, journalist at the Kyiv Independent.
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