The Russian president has taken a step forward in his offensive against Ukraine and has ordered a partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists. Vladimir Putin was scheduled to make an announcement to the nation on Tuesday night, the first since the start of the war on February 24, but decided at the last minute to postpone his appearance, thereby fueling fears of a general draft. In his intervention, a pre-recorded speech that was finally broadcast on Wednesday morning, Putin called for a mobilization that was not general, but partial, to counteract the advances made by kyiv. He has stated that “only citizens who are currently in the reserves and, above all, those who served in the Armed Forces, have certain military specialties and relevant experience, will be subject to compulsory military service.”
“Those called to military service -he explained- will inevitably receive additional military training, taking into account the experience of a special military operation, before being sent to the units.” The first reservists to be called up will be soldiers up to 35 years old and non-commissioned officers up to 45, according to the chairman of the State Duma Defense Committee. Andrei Kartapolov has recognized that, in addition to troops, the profile that the Russian army needs is that of “unmanned aerial vehicle operators and intelligence experts.” Recruitment can only be avoided for reasons of age, health or if they have been sentenced to prison.
“We are talking about defending territories and defending Russia,” said the Russian president to justify a step that he had avoided until now given the unpopularity of the measure. Putin has assured in his speech to the nation that “the objective of the West is to weaken, divide and destroy our country. They are already directly saying that in 1991 they were able to divide the Soviet Union, and now the time has come for Russia itself to be divided into many warring regions and regions,” he snapped.
Without citing any specific government, he accused the West of “encouraging international terrorist gangs in the Caucasus and promoting NATO’s offensive infrastructure near our borders.” “They have made total Russophobia their weapon,” he has censored. And he has gone further by accusing the West of “pushing Ukraine into war against us.” A word, ‘war’, that he had not used in his appearances to date.
It was to be expected that Vladimir Putin would allude to referendums. In his intervention, the Russian president has defended the possibility that the separatists convene consultations for the annexation of the occupied territories to Russia. In his opinion, the “Nazi punishers (referring to the Ukrainian troops) kill, torture, imprison, settle accounts and mock civilians.” “We know that the majority of people living in the liberated territories, which are, first of all, the historical lands of Novorossiya, do not want to be under its yoke,” Putin said. “In Zaporizhia, in the Kherson region, in Lugansk and Donetsk, they have seen and are seeing the atrocities that the neo-Nazis are committing in the occupied areas of the Kharkov region.”
Pro-Russian leaders installed by Moscow at the head of the occupied territories announced referendums from September 23 to 27 in the provinces of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhia. They make up about 15% of the Ukrainian territory. “Liberating all of Donbas remains the immovable goal,” the Russian leader stressed.
The Ukrainian government, led by Volodímir Zelenski, had already assured that the holding of referendums in four regions of his country by the pro-Russians would not change their plans and that they would continue with their military counteroffensive, the same one that has led them to recover almost its entirety Kharkov.
An advertisement in St. Petersburg promotes military contract service with the slogan “Serving Russia is a real job.”
Putin has also taken advantage of his speech to issue a clear warning regarding the use of nuclear weapons if the “territorial integrity of Russia” is threatened: “We will use all means to defend ourselves, and it is not a bluff. I insist, we will defend ourselves with all the means we have. And he has added a message to navigators: “To those who allow themselves such statements, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and individual components, more modern than those of NATO countries.” The Russian president has also ordered that “all problems of material, resources and financial support for companies in the Defense sector must be resolved by the Government immediately.” “I trust your support”, he has summoned the Russians.
sold out flights
As soon as he finished his appearance, the flights out of Russia have quickly sold out. Google Trends data shows an increase in searches for Aviasales, which is Russia’s most popular website for buying flights. Direct movements from Moscow to Istanbul, in Turkey, and Yerevan, in Armenia, both destinations that allow the entry of Russians without a visa, have been immediately exhausted.
Some routes with stopovers, including those from Moscow to Tbilisi, were also unavailable, while the cheapest flights from the Russian capital to Dubai cost more than 300,000 rubles ($5,000), about five times the average monthly salary. Lithuania, for its part, which borders Russia and has not granted visas to Russian tourists since Monday, has warned after Putin’s announcement that it will not issue humanitarian permits or permits of any kind to neighboring citizens.
After Putin’s appearance, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigu, also took the floor this morning, offering for the first time since March figures on casualties in his country’s army since the beginning of the war. “Our losses to date are 5,937 dead,” he assured, while comparing this figure with the casualties on the side led by Zelensky: “Ukraine has already lost half the army: 61,207 dead, 49,368 wounded,” he said. .
Shoigu has also referred to the recruitment of 300,000 reservists, “about 1% of the entire mobilization resource,” he said. And he has clarified that “it is not about any mobilization of students and that the replacement recruits will not be sent to the special operation” in Ukraine.
For his part, the mayor of Moscow, Sergei Sobyanin, has supported Putin’s ruling. “It is forced, but timely and absolutely necessary,” he stressed, after noting that his country has been forced to take such retaliation not only for the actions of the Ukrainian Army, but also for the NATO countries that are “fighting a war not declared” against Russia. In this sense, he has denounced that “there is a flow of Western weapons, specialists and mercenaries” towards the invaded country, and that “everything possible is being done to strangle Russia with economic sanctions.”
The Moscow councilor also wanted to mention the referendums that will take place in the occupied territories from Friday to next Tuesday. “We will actively work to restore the sister cities of Donetsk and Lugansk,” he said, after acknowledging his hope that Kherson and Zaporizhia “become part” of the “Russian family.”
China calls for dialogue
The spokesman for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, Wang Wenbin, has also spoken, calling for a “ceasefire through dialogue” to “find a solution that responds to the legitimate security concerns of all parties as soon as possible.” Likewise, he has pointed out that “the territorial and sovereign integrity of all countries must be respected and the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter must be fulfilled.”
The atomic danger worries the West, although they maintain the hope of not reaching that point of no return. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has accused Putin of using “reckless nuclear rhetoric” regarding the war in Ukraine. “It is not new, because he has done it many times before. [Putin] knows very well that a nuclear war must never be fought and cannot be won,” he said.
Putin’s call for war has caused a stampede to get out of Russia. /
The threat of nuclear weapons has not caught on in Ukraine, whose president denies the veracity of the words of his Russian counterpart. “I don’t think those weapons will be used. I don’t think the world will let that happen,” Zelensky said in an interview with the German channel Bild TV after Putin’s appearance. The politician who has become a leader since Putin invaded Ukraine on February 24 has assured that the call to mobilize 300,000 reservists shows that Russian troops suffer from a serious personnel problem. «We already know that they have mobilized their cadets, boys who do not know how to fight. Those cadets are dead. They have not even been able to complete their training,” Zelenski told the German newspaper ‘Bild. In this sense, he has pointed out that the Kremlin would need an Army of one million troops to continue conquering territories, but its troops “continue to flee.”
His Foreign Minister, Dimitro Kuleba, has stated that, with this bellicose speech, Putin “disrespects” countries around the world that defend diplomacy and demand the end of the armed conflict. In addition, he has made it ugly that the Russian president wants to “throw more men into the flames of a war that he has no chance of winning.”
“Ready to smash and kill”
The call has reached the Russian prison, where the opposition Alexei Navalni remains, and who has criticized the words of Putin, who, in his opinion, “is willing to destroy a neighboring country and kill people.” “I don’t understand a thing. The Army has a million troops. The National Guard has 350,000 people. The Home Office has 1.5 or two million people and the Prison Service is full of people. Why do they recruit civilians? », He has asked by videoconference before a court. If so, “there will be five million conscientious objectors touring the country and a million police following them to mobilize them.” The demonstrations would be massive, he warns him. “I don’t think they’re going to call up anyone from Moscow. If you recruit 50,000 people in Moscow there will be 150,000 relatives the next day protesting in the streets.”
Whatever happens, the Ukrainians will continue to defend their land, as they have shown in the last seven months. Ambassador Serhii Pohoreltsev stated this Wednesday in Gernika that kyiv will seek new ways to obtain more weapons to “achieve victory” over Russia. In addition, he has denounced the “blackmail” that the head of the Kremlin makes to the world with the threat of using nuclear weapons.