Russian President Vladimir V. Putin on Wednesday accelerated the war effort in Ukraine, drafting about 300,000 reservists into the army while also supporting Ukraine with the veiled threat of using nuclear weapons. announced a new campaign to directly challenge the West over
In a rare video address to the nation, Putin did not go so far as to declare a full state draft, but instead called for a “partial mobilization” of people with military experience. Although Moscow’s troops have recently suffered humiliating losses on the battlefield, he said Russia’s goals in Ukraine have not changed and the move was “necessary and urgent”.
The speech was a clear attempt to reassert his authority over the increasingly chaotic war that had undermined his leadership on the domestic and global stage. The confrontation escalated.Western countries have backed Ukraine with weapons, money and information.
Mr Putin has accused the US and Europe of “nuclear blackmail” against his country and warned that Russia has its own “massive arsenal”.
“I would like to remind those who allow such statements about Russia to remember that our country also has various means of destruction, some of which are more modern than those of NATO countries,” he said. rice field.
Mr Putin also reaffirmed his support for the hastily announced referendum on Tuesday and set the stage for declaring the occupied Ukrainian territory now part of Russia. That merger could take place as early as next week.
Pro-Kremlin analysts and officials said at the time that further Ukrainian military action against these territories could be seen as an attack on Russia itself. He warned that he was ready to use every weapon in Russia’s arsenal to defend what the Kremlin considers to be Russian territory.
“If our territorial integrity is threatened, we will do everything possible to protect Russia and our people,” he said. “This is not a bluff.”
In announcing the call for soldiers, Putin also said: from Russia They support war but criticize the Kremlin for not committing the necessary resources and personnel to wage an all-out war. Putin had previously avoided conscription to keep the hardships of war as far away from ordinary Russians as possible, but recent setbacks on the battlefield and drumbeats from pre-war nationalists calling for a stronger effort have forced the reckoning to change. It seems strange.
In a subsequent speech, Russian Defense Minister Sergey K. Shoigu said the new call-up number would be 300,000, all of whom would have some military experience. With mobilization, officially called up reservists are required by law to do their duty or face fines and prosecution. Shoigu said students would not be drafted into combat and conscripts would not be sent to “special operations zones” – a term the Kremlin uses to refer to warfare – but observers are skeptical of that claim. was.
The Western reaction was quick, with British and European Union officials calling Mr Putin’s move a sign that his war had failed. China, an increasingly important ally of Russia, released a short statement from its foreign ministry calling on all parties to “reach a ceasefire through dialogue and negotiations.”
President Biden warned Putin against using nuclear weapons on the battlefield in an interview with “60 Minutes” aired on CBS on Sunday night. “Don’t. Don’t. When asked what his message was to Putin, Mr. Biden replied: ‘You will change the face of war like never before since World War II.'”
According to estimates by military analysts and experts, the number of Russian armed forces, including separatists, members of private security companies and volunteers allied with Russia, currently does not exceed 200,000. A successful partial mobilization would more than double her number of recruits, making it easier for Russia to defend hundreds of miles of front lines in Ukraine. However, observers say most of the high-ranking officers have already been deployed and the recruited personnel will need further training and weapons.
Chris Buckley, Ivan Necheplenko When Alina Lobzina contributed to the report.