Putin announces partial mobilisation for Russians

His address to the nation comes a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums



Photos: AP
Photos: AP

By AP

Published: Wed 21 Sep 2022, 10:29 AM

Last updated: Wed 21 Sep 2022, 12:24 PM

On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilisation in Russia, as its war with Ukraine reaches nearly seven months, and it loses ground on the battlefield. Putin also warned the West that “it's not a bluff” that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory.

The total number of reservists to be called up is 300,000, officials said.

The Russian leader's televised address to the nation came a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold votes on becoming integral parts of Russia.

Putin's remarks also come against the backdrop of the UN General Assembly in New York, at which Moscow was warned about its referendum plans.

The Kremlin-backed efforts to swallow up four regions could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war following Ukrainian successes.

The referendums, which have been expected to take place since the first months of the war, will begin on Friday in the Luhansk, Kherson as well as the (partly Russian-controlled) Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

Putin also accused the West of engaging in “nuclear blackmail”, and noted “statements of some high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction against Russia.“

To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate components, that are more modern than those of NATO countries, and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened — to protect Russia and our people — we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said.

He added: “It’s not a bluff.”

Putin said he has signed a decree on the partial mobilisation, which is due to start today.

“We are talking about partial mobilisation, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience,” Putin said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said in a televised interview Wednesday that only those with relevant combat and service experience would be mobilised.

Shoigu also said that 5,937 Russian soldiers had died in the Ukraine conflict — a figure far lower than the Western estimates of Russia losing tens of thousands of soldiers.

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Putin said the decision to partially mobilise was “fully adequate to the threats we face, namely to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.”

The upcoming referendum votes are all but certain to go Moscow’s way. They were quickly dismissed as illegitimate by Western leaders, who are backing Kyiv with military and other support that has helped its forces seize momentum on battlefields in the east and south.

“I thank all friends and partners of Ukraine for today’s mass principled firm condemnation of Russia’s attempts to stage new sham referenda,” Zelensky said.


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