RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a “partial mobilisation” of some 3,00,000 reservists with immediate effect in the wake of setbacks suffered by Russia in its raging conflict with Ukraine, saying, it was necessary as Moscow is fighting the “entire military machine of the collective West.”
Putin made the announcement in a televised address to the nation in which he also said that Russia will use all the means at its disposal to protect its territory, warning the West that “this is not a bluff”.
He has already signed an Executive Order for the call-up to start the mobilisation immediately. Since early September, Ukraine forces have swiftly recaptured large swaths of land in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region that Russian troops took over in early weeks of the war which began on February 24.
The stretched-out frontline, the constant shelling of Russian borderline areas by Ukrainian military and attacks on liberated regions required call-up of servicemen from the reserve, Putin said in his address.
His speech comes a day after the Lugansk and Donetsk People’s Republics, as well as Russian-controlled Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on Tuesday announced that they would hold referendums on whether to join Russia from September 23-27. Soon after Putin’s address, Russian Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu announced that 3,00,000 people will be called up for service during the partial mobilisation.
“Three hundred thousand reserve troops will be called up,” Shoigu said during a Rossiya-24 TV broadcast.
In his speech, Putin accused the West of making attempts to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy Russia.
“They are saying openly now that in 1991 they managed to split up the Soviet Union and now is the time to do the same to Russia, which must be divided into numerous regions that would be at deadly feud with each other,” Putin said.
He accused the Ukraine Government of bringing foreign mercenaries and nationalists, military units trained according to NATO standards and receiving orders from Western advisers.
“Today our Armed Forces are fighting on the line of contact that is over 1,000 kilometres long, fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West,” Putin said.
Accusing the US-led West of resorting to nuclear blackmail, Putin said that Russia has different types of weapons as well, and some of them are more modern than the weapons NATO countries have.
“In the event of a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to defend Russia and our people, we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us. This is not a bluff,” he warned. “Those who are using nuclear blackmail against us should know that the wind rose can turn around.”
A spokesman for Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called the partial mobilisation of Russian reservists a “big tragedy” for the Russian people. Sergii Nikoforov said, conscripts sent to the front line in Ukraine would face a similar fate as ill-prepared Russian forces who were repelled in an attack on Kyiv in the first days of the invasion.