Russian president, Vladimir Putin has announced the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists and threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the war against Ukraine.
In a pre-recorded address broadcast on state TV on Wednesday, September 21, Putin said he was calling up reservists to aid in Russia’s war against Ukraine, but did not implement a general conscription drive for now. He added that, in the first instance, reservists with training and experience would be called to join up.
Putin’s strategy allows him to avoid the explosive political criticism of more prosperous families in Moscow who will have to send children with no military experience to fight on the front lines.
Making claims about NATO nuclear threats against Russia and claiming to be at war with the West, which is trying to “weaken, divide and destroy” Russia, Putin boasted of Moscow’s superior nuclear weapons.
“To defend Russia and our people, we doubtlessly will use all resources at our disposal,” Putin said.
“This is not a bluff.” e added
Putin also said Russia would “do everything to provide a safe environment” for Kremlin-installed governments in four Ukrainian regions that on Tuesday pledged to hold referendums this week to join the Russian Federation.
Putin also announced that volunteers currently fighting for Russia in its war in Ukraine would be granted the same legal status as regular military personnel. He said those who are mobilized persons to fight in the war against Ukraine will be paid and get the status of military personnel serving under the contract.
He accused high-ranking officials of leading NATO nations of making statements about “the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia – nuclear weapons”.
“To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and in some components more modern than those of the NATO countries.”
On Tuesday, Russia’s proxy states in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region, the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Luhansk (LPR), Donetsk (DPR), Kherson and Zaporizhia declared they would imminently hold referendums on being recognized as part of Russia.
Ukraine, the U.S., EU and other Western allies said they would not recognize the results of these sham referendums.
Stung by a successful Ukrainian counter-offensive over the past weeks, state television has been propelling Putin to go harder against Ukraine.
Russia recognizing part of Ukraine as its own territory would pave the wave for such a military escalation, ranging from all-out assault on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure to the use of nuclear weapons.
Ukraine’s government insists that Putin’s threats will not deter its forces from their big push to dislodge Russian soldiers from the east and south of Ukraine.
Speaking immediately after Putin, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the partial mobilization will deploy 300,000 additional soldiers, who have military experience and specialized training. It will not affect students and currently conscripted soldiers. He added that Russia had 25 million men with military experience, saying that the current partial mobilization only covers about 1 percent of that number.
“We are not just fighting with Ukraine, but with the collective West,” Shoigu said. He added that 5,937 Russians had been killed in the war so far. This number is vastly below the country’s estimated losses, and the Ukrainians say they have “eliminated” more than 50,000 Russian personnel. Shoigu claimed that the Russians had killed 61,207 Ukrainian soldiers and wounded 49,368.