Russia’s President Vladimir Putin gave a televised speech on Wednesday announcing “partial mobilisation” in Russia for the country’s military campaign in Ukraine. He stated that it was being deployed “to defend the motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, the security of our people.”
Mr Putin said this pertains to “only citizens in the military reserve, those who’ve served in the army.”
The Russian president stated that an urgent decision was required to protect people in the “liberated lands”.
“That’s why I asked the ministry of defence to agree to ‘partial mobilisation’,” he said.
He says the decree has already been signed and that the partial mobilisation starts on Wednesday.
He says that all citizens who will be mobilised will have full armed forces status.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Wednesday that President Vladimir Putin’s decree on partial mobilisation would see 300,000 additional personnel called up to serve in Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine.
Russia’s mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and underscores that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told Reuters on Wednesday.
Podolyak said in a text message that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an “unprovoked war” and Russia’s worsening economic situation onto the West.
“Lots of weapons”
Vladimir Putin accused the West of engaging in nuclear blackmail against Russia.
He said that Russia had “lots of weapons to reply” to what he called Western threats and said that he was not bluffing.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to defend Russia and our people, we will use all means we have. This is not a bluff.”
He went on to say: “The territorial integrity of our motherland, our independence and freedom will be secured, I repeat with all the means we have.”
“Those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the prevailing winds can turn in their direction,” said the Russian president.
British foreign office minister Gillian Keegan told Sky News: “Clearly it’s something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control – I’m not sure he’s in control either, really. This is obviously an escalation,” she said.
Putin restated his objective was to “liberate” eastern Ukraine’s Donbas industrial heartland and that most people in the region did not want to return to what he called the “yoke” of Ukraine.
Following the announcement of partial mobilisation the Russian rouble fell 1 percent to 61.2 versus the US dollar.
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