After Ukraine’s counter-attacks forced the Kremlin’s invaders into a humiliating retreat, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a maneuver that would see some 300,000 troops called up in a The conflict escalated dramatically.
In a televised speech, the autocratic leader revealed increase force along with a stark warning to the West about what he called “nuclear blackmail”.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all means available to protect our people. This is not a hoax,” he said, adding that he had “a lot of weapons to answer.”
The mobilization — ordered in Russia for the first time since World War II — did not stop at calling all of Russia’s 2 million reservists to action or instigating a full national draft. But increase manpower represents a pivotal moment in the ongoing conflict in Ukraine since Russian tanks first rushed across the border in February.
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said 300,000 people with some military experience will be included in the call, which has been widely reported as “partially mobilized.” But the experts have shown that the text of the dispatch order said nothing about it being partial, nor was there any legal restriction on whether the Kremlin could eventually summon people with no military experience. The fear of enlistment may have been partly responsible for the spike in Google searches for “how to leave Russia” on Tuesday. Medusa report.
Putin claimed the mobilization was necessary because the West pushed Kyiv to “transfer military operations to our territory” with the ultimate goal of “totally plundering our country”.
“Nuclear code was also used,” added Putin, referring to Zaporozhzhia nuclear power plant occupied by Russia in Ukrainewhere nearby explosions raised concerns about the possibility of a nuclear accident from international observers.
He also provoked NATO leaders when he spoke about “the possibility and acceptance of the use of weapons of mass destruction against Russia – nuclear weapons”. Mr. Putin added: “For those who allow themselves to make such statements about Russia, I would like to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and in some parts more modern. compared with NATO countries.
He said his intention remained to “liberate” the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine. Putin added: “Russia cannot give up on people living nearby being torn apart by executioners and failing to respond to their desire to decide their own fate.
Western leaders and military officials mocked Putin’s speech on Wednesday, saying the troop mobilization was a reckless move that showed a Russian invasion would not go as planned. In a statement, British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace said that Putin had “brought tens of thousands of their citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and poorly led”.
“No threat and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community is united and Russia is becoming a global nation,” he added.
Putin’s speech was given after the State Duma of Russia passed the law on Tuesday which gave harsh punishments to soldiers who “voluntarily” surrendered in battle or who disobeyed orders. It also added the concepts of “mobilization, martial law and wartime” to Russia’s penal code for the first time.
As fears spread that mobilization was imminent, four of the Kremlin’s proxies in the occupied regions of Ukraine announced that they would hold a “referendum” on politics. officially join Russia this week.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in a Tuesday night broadcast, vowed to continue to resist efforts to carve out his country. “We have the full support of our partners in this,” he said. “So let’s maintain the pressure. Please keep the unity. Let’s protect Ukraine. We are liberating our land. And we don’t have any signs of weakness.”