Putin announces partial mobilization of the armed forces

Brussels, Tel Aviv, Riga The Russian armed forces, recently defeated several times in battles in the Ukraine are to be reinforced by a partial mobilization with 300,000 additional soldiers. Kremlin chief Wladimir Putin said in a television speech on Wednesday morning that he had signed a corresponding decree at the suggestion of the Ministry of Defense. The partial mobilization begins on the same day.

At the same time, Putin threatened to use nuclear weapons: Russia will use all means to protect its territorial integrity, he said. This obviously also means the Ukrainian peninsula of Crimea, which Russia has considered part of its national territory since 2014.

The areas in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, as well as Cherson, which have been ruled by separatists for years, could soon join the Russian Federation. The separatists want the population to vote on it this week.

The result will not be recognized internationally because the conditions for a free and fair vote are not in place. However, Putin has announced that he will support the sham referendums.

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The hasty action is a sign that Putin fears losing military control over Luhansk and parts of southern Ukraine, military expert Stefanie Babst told Handelsblatt.

Russian political scientist Tatyana Stanovaya believes that the votes should give Putin the opportunity to defend the territories under threat of using nuclear weapons. In doing so, he significantly increased the stakes in the war. Russia had justified its invasion of Ukraine, among other things, with the "liberation" of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

Sergei Shoigu

The Defense Minister of Russia declares that 300,000 people will be partially mobilized.


Due to the partial mobilization, not all combat-capable Russians are drafted, only the army reservists. Russia's Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu spoke of around one percent of the resources of 25 million.

The new troops are to be given the same status and pay as contract soldiers who are already deployed. They are to be given military training again before they go to the front. Equipment and training in particular have been causing major problems for Russia for the past seven months, according to Babst. The increase does not automatically mean that the combat effectiveness of the Russian units will improve.

"I doubt that an increase in troops will help Putin any more than Bush did in Iraq and Obama in Afghanistan," Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld told Handelsblatt.

Soldiers in the Russian-occupied Donetsk region listen to President Vladimir Putin's speech

Now reservists are also to be drafted.

(Photo: IMAGO/SNA)

Latvia's foreign minister apparently expects that Russians will try to evade conscription. Edgars Rinkēvičs wrote on Twitter that his country would not issue humanitarian visas “for security reasons” and would not change the restrictions on border traffic.

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace spoke of an admission of failure. Putin and Shoigu have already sent tens of thousands of their citizens to their deaths, poorly equipped and badly led. "No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community is united and Russia is becoming a global pariah."

Chancellor Olaf Scholz sees the Russian partial mobilization as a sign of weakness. "The latest decisions by the Russian government are an act of desperation," Scholz said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. "Russia cannot win this criminal war." President Vladimir Putin completely underestimated the situation." Even the sham referendums in the occupied territories in Ukraine would never be accepted.

call for protest

Kyiv reacted with ridicule. The external advisor to the Ukrainian presidential office, Mykhailo Podoliak, asked on Twitter: "Is everything still going according to plan or not?" The war, which was planned for three days, has already lasted 210 days.

His colleague Oleksiy Arestovych wrote that the high losses forced Russia to take this measure. "There are more than 100,000 dead and wounded, more like 150,000." Moscow had spoken on Wednesday of 5,937 dead own military personnel since the beginning of the war. Independent observers also believe that the real losses are many times higher.

Putin announces partial mobilization: "This is not a bluff"

The Russian-language news portal Meduza, which is critical of the Kremlin, published on its Telegram channel a call for a demonstration organized by the group "Vesna" (Spring) to take place at 7 p.m. in the centers of all Russian cities. The appeal said thousands of Russian men, "our fathers, brothers and husbands," would be thrown into the "meatmill" of war.

Kirill Martynov, editor-in-chief of the European edition of the anti-Kremlin newspaper Novaya Gazeta, wrote on Twitter: "Vladimir Putin has declared the partial death of the Russian Federation."

For a few days, critical questions about the meaning of the "special operation" in Ukraine have even been asked on Russian state television. Even if, according to historian van Creveld, one should not overestimate this, the growing internal criticism has been unmistakable in the past few days. Putin was asked to resign in several open letters and video messages.

However, there is still no end to the war in sight, says van Creveld. The main thing now is who can hold out the longest when the war becomes more and more a war of attrition. Russia has the larger reserves. The fact that the Ukrainians are now successful does not mean that they will quickly win the war. "Ultimately it will depend on economic aid and the political support that either side receives."

The expert Babst says succinctly: "We are still relatively at the beginning of a long conflict with Russia."

Ukraine map of September 20, 2022

With agency material

More: Why Russia can't stop Ukraine's advance right now

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