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Russia-Ukraine war live: Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia and pledges to use ‘all means available to us’ | Russia


Russian president Vladimir Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia

Vladimir Putin has given a national address in which he has announced the partial mobilisation of forces in Russia. He said that the army was facing the military operations of the collective west on a frontline of over 1,000km in Ukraine. Those in the military reserves would be called up.

Putin also said Russia would give its full support to the referendums announced for this weekend in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to join the Russian Federation. He accused the west of starting a war against Russia in Ukraine in 2014.

“In its aggressive anti-Russian policy the west has crossed all lines,” the Russian president said. He accused the west of planning to destroy Russia and use nuclear blackmail.

Putin said he would use “all means available to us” and that those who are trying to use nuclear blackmail against Russia will find the tables can be turned against them. He explicitly said “I’m not bluffing.”

Key events

Russia’s mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and underscores that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has told Reuters.

Podolyak said in a text message to the news agency that Russian President Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an “unprovoked war” and Russia’s worsening economic situation onto the west.

Here is a reminder of the geography and current status of the areas where Russia’s proxy authorities are proposing that referendums on joining the Russian Federation are to be held at the weekend.

About 60% of Donetsk oblast is under the control of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which has existed since 2014. To the north-east, the similarly self-proclaimed and largely unrecognised Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) has control of the whole region, although in recent days Ukrainian forces had gained a symbolic toehold back having pushed in through Kharkiv from the west. Russia, Syria and North Korea are the only UN member states to recognise the DPR and LPR as legitimate authorities.

In the south of Ukraine, Russian forces do not have full control of the territory of either Kherson or Zaporizhzhia, where Russian-installed authorities are also proposing to conduct votes.

Situation map of Ukraine

The RIA Novosti news agency in Russia is carrying a small snippet of defence minister Sergei Shoigu’s separate speech about the Russian partial mobilisation that Vladimir Putin has announced. It reports Shoigu explained “mobilisation is necessary to control the 1,000km line of contact, as well as the liberated territories.”

Andriy Yermak, head of the office of the president of Ukraine, has just tweeted a picture of a video conference he said he held with members of the intelligence committee of the US House of Representatives. Yermak writes:

For over six months of a full-scale war against Ukraine, Russia was unable to achieve its goal. It happened thanks to the Ukrainian nation’s courage, and our international partners’ aid.

Held a video conference with members of the Intelligence Committee of the US House of Representatives.

For over six months of a full-scale war against 🇺🇦, Russia was unable to achieve its goal. It happened thanks to the 🇺🇦 nation’s courage and our international partners’ aid. pic.twitter.com/8bpOySVF2u

— Andriy Yermak (@AndriyYermak) September 21, 2022

What is partial mobilisation?

Reuters is providing some snap quotes from Russia’s defence minister on what the partial mobilisation entails. It reports he has said:

  • It applies to those with previous military experience.

  • People who served as conscripts or students are not being called up.

  • People called up will receive training before being deployed.

  • Russia has huge resources, 25 million people, of whom 300,000 reserves will be called up.

More details soon …

The former British ambassador to Russia, Sir Tony Brenton, has been speaking on Sky News in the UK. He said that until now Russia had not fully mobilised because “Putin was worried about the effects on Russian public opinion”.

However, the setbacks in the field had changed the calculus. Brenton said:

What Putin has now announced is the mobilisation, which he’s been refusing to do since the war began and has now accepted the advice of his military and has come back to the nuclear threat in the context of alleged nuclear threats from the west. Now, I don’t know whether he believes that or not, but it is obviously a very significant step up in rhetoric.

On the weekend’s proposed referendums, he said:

Referendums in these circumstances are obviously not very honest things, and the outcome is pretty clear that they will say yes, we in the west will say that these are fake referenda and will resist them. But if Putin wants to proceed to annex these provinces, these referendums will give him the pretext to do so.

Asked what impact it would have Putin’s speech today would have in Ukraine, he said the Ukrainians have good reason to continue be confident following their progress on the ground. However, he said the impact on the Russian public may be more significant – the “special operation” becomes closer to being a real war, one that Russian leaders will be under even more pressure not to lose.

Going back to the words of Vladimir Putin for a minute, he said early in his speech: “The aim of the west is to weaken and destroy Russia. They are openly saying that in 1991 they managed to destroy the Soviet Union and now is the time for Russia itself. That Russia will fall into many areas that are fighting themselves. They had those plans for a long time.”

He said of the west that “they made the Ukrainian people cannon fodder and pushed them into the war”, and that they were “using the army against the civilian population, and organising the genocide and blockade and terror against the people who refused to acknowledge Ukrainian power is a result of the military coup”.

Our Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth reports that Russian soldiers will be having their contracts extended indefinitely as part of the partial mobilisation.

My colleague Luke Harding has just spoken to the BBC’s Today programme live from Kharkiv. He said of Putin’s speech:

It’s the usual kind of grudge list of accusations, and it is strange that more than six months into this conflict, Vladimir Putin is still living in a parallel reality, where really Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, but Ukraine threatened Russia. It is kind of upside down land.

I think we know what is coming next. That there will be a “referendum” in the territories of Ukraine which Russia occupies. And I think this is a kind of classic escalation. It is a Putin move where he says this is now Russia, and if Ukraine tries to seize back these territories, then, essentially, Moscow can do whatever it wants up to and including nuclear weapons. I think it is a bluff, but it is quite a quite a potent bluff.

Asked what other options Putin has, Harding said:

You have to understand the context, which is, where I am, in Kharkiv, the Ukrainian armed forces have just liberated territory about half the size of Wales and in more than 300 settlements they’ve been sort of pulverised and destroyed.

What’s clear, having been talking to people who have been under Russian occupation, is that there’s extremely limited support now for Russia in these occupied territories. And any kind of vote will be entirely fake. I mean, the paradox is that with his invasion, Putin has really kind of consolidated Ukraine as a state, and whatever differences that were there have kind of melted away.

UK Foreign Office minister accuses Putin of ‘a rewriting of history’

The Conservative MP Gillian Keegan, who was recently appointed a minister of state at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has immediately accused the Russian president of “a rewriting of history” in a television interview on Sky News in the first response from the British government to Putin’s speech.

“Some of the language is quite concerning and obviously we should aim for calm,” she said. She urged Russian people to “look beyond your own media”.

“Let’s be clear,” she said, “there are Putin’s lies.”

“It is Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine,” she add. “And of course, we will still stand by Ukraine as well, with all of our Nato allies.”

She said of Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons: “It is something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control. I’m not sure he’s in control either. Really, I mean, this is obviously an escalation.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia

Vladimir Putin has given a national address in which he has announced the partial mobilisation of forces in Russia. He said that the army was facing the military operations of the collective west on a frontline of over 1,000km in Ukraine. Those in the military reserves would be called up.

Putin also said Russia would give its full support to the referendums announced for this weekend in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to join the Russian Federation. He accused the west of starting a war against Russia in Ukraine in 2014.

“In its aggressive anti-Russian policy the west has crossed all lines,” the Russian president said. He accused the west of planning to destroy Russia and use nuclear blackmail.

Putin said he would use “all means available to us” and that those who are trying to use nuclear blackmail against Russia will find the tables can be turned against them. He explicitly said “I’m not bluffing.”

Putin says the Russian army is acting as a military frontline of more than 1,000km facing the whole military operation of the collective west. For the defence of our motherland, Putin says he supports a “partial mobilisation, I stress it is partial mobilisation”. Only those who are currently in reserve will be conscripted. The decree of partial mobilisation has been signed.





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