Putin sets partial military muster, won’t ‘bluff’ about nuclear weapons | Government & Politics

Carl Ritter – Associated Press

Kyiv, UKRAINE (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the partial mobilization of Russian reservists. war with ukraine After almost seven months of fighting, things are not going according to plan.

This was the first mobilization in Russia since World War II and came amid humiliating battlefield losses for the Kremlin forces in recent weeks.

In a seven-minute televised address to the nation aired Wednesday morning, Russia’s leader warned the West not to bluff with every means at its disposal to protect Russian territory. About Russia’s nuclear capabilities. Putin has previously warned Western countries not to support Russia against the wall and accused NATO countries of supplying weapons to help Ukraine.

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Officials said the total number of reservists to be called up could be as high as 300,000.

Even partial mobilization is likely to sow seeds of despondency and doubt among Russians about the war in Ukraine. Despite this, it was reported that demand for air tickets abroad surged amidst the apparent rush to depart.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was asked what had changed since he and others previously said no mobilization was planned.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said only those with relevant combat and service experience would be mobilized. He added that there are about 25 million people who fit this criteria, but only about 1% of them are mobilized.

Another provision of the decree prohibits most professional military personnel from terminating their contracts and leaving the service until partial mobilization has taken place.

President Putin’s announcement United Nations General Assembly In New York, where Moscow invaded Ukraine on February 24, Subject to wide international criticism It has continued to exert strong diplomatic pressure on Moscow.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is scheduled to address the rally in a pre-recorded address on Wednesday. Putin did not travel to New York.

There is a strong element of risk in Putin’s ruse, which could backfire by making the Ukraine war unpopular domestically and undermining his own position, exposing Russia’s underlying military shortcomings.

The Ukrainian counteroffensive launched this month has robbed Russia of the military initiative and occupied large swaths of territory once controlled by Russia. The speed of the counterattack forced the Russians to abandon armored vehicles and other weapons and hastily retreat.

A spokesman for Zelensky called the mobilization a “great tragedy” for the Russian people.

In a statement to the Associated Press, Sergiy Nikiforov said the conscripts sent to the Ukrainian front line were similar to the ill-prepared Russian forces repulsed in the attack on Kyiv on the first day of the invasion last February. He said he would face his fate.

“This is an acknowledgment of the incompetence of the Russian professional military, which has failed in all its missions,” said Nikiforov.

Due to the lack of training facilities and equipment, mobilization is unlikely to affect the battlefield for several months.

US Ambassador to Ukraine Bridget Brink tweeted that the mobilization was a sign of “weakness, Russia’s failure”.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace echoed that assessment by describing Putin’s move as “an admission that his aggression had failed.”

Russian political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin said Putin’s announcement seemed like a “desperate act”. He predicted that the Russians would resist mobilization through “passive sabotage”.

“People will do everything possible to avoid this mobilization, take bribes to get out of this mobilization and leave the country,” Oreshkin said in an interview with the Associated Press on Wednesday.

Oreshkin said the announcement would not be well received by the general public, saying it was “a huge personal blow to Russian citizens who until recently (participating in hostilities) were happy to sit on their sofas and watch TV.” will be,’ he said. And now war has come to their home. “

Duma Defense Committee Chairman Andrei Kartapolov said there would be no additional restrictions on reservists leaving Russia on the basis of this mobilization, according to Russian media reports. Kartapolov said he wanted to “calm” people about the mobilization.

The partial mobilization order came a day after the Russian-controlled areas of eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to vote on becoming an integral part of Russia.

The referendum, expected to take place from the first months of the war, will begin on Friday in Luhansk, Kherson and the partly Russian-controlled Zaporizhia and Donetsk regions.

The vote will almost certainly be done the Moscow way.

The war, which has killed thousands of people, has pushed up food prices around the world and sent energy costs skyrocketing. It also poses the threat of a potential nuclear disaster. Investigation is in progress To the atrocities that the Russian army may have committed in Ukraine.

In a much shorter speech than his previous speeches on the Ukraine war, Putin accused the West of being involved in “nuclear threats” and “reported the use of nuclear weapons by high-ranking representatives of major NATO countries.” Statement of Possibilities”. Mass destruction against Russia. “

He did not identify the person who made such comments.

“For those who allow such statements about Russia, our country also has various means of destruction, is more modern than the individual components and NATO countries, and if our territorial integrity is threatened, we should We will definitely use all the means at our disposal to protect our people,” Putin said.

He added: “It’s not a bluff.”

Foreign leaders have explained that voting is illegal and non-binding. Zelensky said they were “fakes” and “noise” to distract public attention.

Putin said he had already signed an order for partial mobilization, which is scheduled to start on Wednesday. Full-scale mobilization is unpopular in Russia and could make Putin’s position even worse after the recent military setback in Ukraine.

“We are talking about partial mobilization, that is, only citizens currently in the reserve are subject to conscription, and above all those who have served in the armed forces have specific military expertise and relevant experience,” Putin said. have.

Russian Defense Minister Shoigu also said 5,937 Russian soldiers have died in the conflict in Ukraine. This is far less than Western estimates that Russia has lost tens of thousands.

The anti-Vesna movement Wednesday called for nationwide protests, saying, “Thousands of Russian men, our fathers, brothers and husbands, will be thrown into the meat grinder of war. What will they die for?” What are mothers and children crying about?”

It was unclear how many people would dare to protest, given Russia’s all-out suppression of opposition parties and harsh laws that discredit its soldiers and military operations.

Follow AP’s war coverage. https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

An earlier version of this story has been corrected to show that the Ukrainian president’s spokesperson’s last name is Nikiforov, not Nikoforov.

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https://theindependent.com/news/national/govt-and-politics/putin-sets-partial-military-call-up-won-t-bluff-on-nukes/article_23613f5f-5089-5d31-b7d0-fafc828e2729.html Putin sets partial military muster, won’t ‘bluff’ about nuclear weapons | Government & Politics

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