Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced partial mobilisation of military in Russia as the war in Ukraine reaches nearly seven months.
In a rare address to the Nation, Putin said, the decision was taken “to defend the motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity”. His move will be viewed as an escalation by the West.
“We are talking about partial mobilization, 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 stressed.
The move was necessitated, Putin said, as it was incumbent for Russia to take urgent decision to protect people in the “liberated lands”.
Putin’s address to the nation comes a day after Russian-controlled regions in eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to hold referendums on whether they want to become parts of Russia.
On plans for referendums in Ukraine, Putin said, “We support these people”, adding that he ordered his government to give legal status to volunteers fighting in Donbas as Russia aims to liberate the region.
Putin accused the West in 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 and 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 on Wednesday.