Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Wednesday a "partial mobilization" in Russia a day after Ukraine's pro-Russian territories announced express referendums to join Russia. He assured that the West wants to destroy Russia and warned that if it continues with its "nuclear blackmail", Russia has an arsenal to respond.
When the conflict in Ukraine is seven months old and Moscow is losing ground on the battlefield, the head of the Kremlin specified that only citizens who are currently in reserve will be subject to serving in the Russian armed forces and, "above all, those who served in the ranks of the armed forces and have some military specialty and relevant experience.
Later, the Russian Defense Minister, Sergei Shoigú, specified that this mobilization does not affect the students. According to the minister, the partial mobilization will call for 300,000 men.
Russia's military reserves are made up of 2 million men.
Putin showed his support for the pro-Russian territories that announced their intention to join Russia and assured that the "special military operation" that began last February with the sending of Russian troops to Ukraine was absolutely necessary. And he stated that Russia's goal remains "to liberate the Donbass", a region made up of the Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
The Kremlin chief said the decision to declare a partial mobilization was "fully appropriate to the threats we face, that is, to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and its territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and the people of the occupied territories".
The Russian leader accused the West of threatening Russia with "nuclear blackmail". If they continue with him, Moscow will respond with its arsenal. "If the integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all means to protect our people. This is not a bluff," he warned in his televised message. Russia has "many weapons to respond," he added.
The West's goal is "to weaken, divide and ultimately destroy our country," the Kremlin chief said. And he stressed that "they openly say that in 1991 they were able to dismember the Soviet Union" and that now "Russia's turn has come."
On Tuesday the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Luhansk (RPL) and Donetsk (DPR), as well as pro-Russian authorities in the Russian army-controlled territories in the Jerson and Zaporiyia regions simultaneously announced the holding of referendums on joining Russia.
Formally, it was the social movements of the respective territories (Public Chambers) that requested the holding of the express vote.
The first to do so were those of the RPL and RPD on Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, September 20, Jerson and Zaporiyia were joined. That same day, in less than three hours the parliaments of Luhansk and Donetsk and pro-Russian leaders of the four territories (Leonid Pásechnik in Luhansk, Dennis Pushilin in Donetsk, Vladimir Saldo in Jerson and Yevgueni Balitski in Zaporiyia) took the decision to convene formally immediate referendums to join Russia.
Voting will last five days, from this Friday, September 23 to next Tuesday, September 27.