Putin mobilizes more troops for Ukraine, threatens West with nuclear retaliation
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of his country’s military for the war in Ukraine Wednesday and backed votes in occupied areas to join Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced the partial mobilization of his country’s military Wednesday, calling up reservists in a significant escalation of his war in Ukraine after battlefield setbacks left the Kremlin facing growing pressure to act.
In a rare national address, the Russian leader also backed plans for Russia to annex occupied areas of southern and eastern Ukraine, appearing to threaten nuclear retaliation if Kyiv continues its efforts to reclaim that land.
It came just a day after after four Russian-controlled areas announced they would stage votes this week on breaking away from Ukraine and joining Russia, in a plan Kyiv and its Western allies dismissed as a desperate “sham” aimed at deterring a successful counteroffensive by Ukrainian troops.
Vowing that Russia would use all the means at its disposal to protect what it considers its territory, Putin accused the West of nuclear blackmail and warned: “This is not a bluff.”
Speaking after Putin, defense minister Sergei Shoigu said an initial 300,000 reservists would be called up.
Only those with relevant combat and service experience will be mobilized, Shoigu said. Another clause in the decree, which came into effect immediately, prevents most professional soldiers from terminating their contracts and leaving service until the partial mobilization is no longer in place.