Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday a “partial mobilization” of the population in the midst of the war in Ukraine, where Russian forces have suffered several blows in recent weeks following a series of counter-offensives by Ukrainian troops.
He explained that he signed a decree in this regard, which represents a significant escalation of the conflict.
It’s about the Russia’s first mobilization since World War II. Putin warned the West that if it continues its “nuclear blackmail”, Moscow will respond with the power of its vast arsenal.
“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people; this is not a bluff”Putin said in a televised address to the nation.
The president explained that the activities related to this mobilization will start this Wednesday and stressed that only the reservists, mainly those with experience, will be called up, according to the Russian news agency TASS.
Putin’s announcement came in a speech earlier in the day, after his remarks, scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, were postponed several times for unspecified reasons.
He stated that his goal is “liberate” the Donbas region in eastern Ukraineand that the majority of the inhabitants of the regions under Russian control did not want to be governed by kyiv.
For his part, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, assured that they would mobilize 300 thousand reservists of the Armed Forces.
During the day on Tuesday, the chairman of the Defense Committee of the State Duma, Andrei Kartapolov, had said that speculation about a general mobilization was “absolutely unjustified.” “There will not be a general mobilization”, said in statements to the newspaper Parliamentstaya Gazeta.
Hours earlier, the Lower House of the Russian Parliament had approved a series of amendments to the Criminal Code to toughen prison sentences for acts committed during wartime, including surrender, desertion and looting.
The project, which includes the concepts “mobilization”, “martial law” and “war period”, previously not mentioned in the Russian Penal Code, it will be reviewed this Wednesday by the Federation Council -the Upper House- for its approval and sent to the president for ratification.
(With information from Europe Press, Reuters Y Aristegui News)