Putin launches conscription to bolster military invasion as Ukraine mounts counteroffensive


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Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial mobilization in Russia, which will force citizens to join the war effort in Ukraine. He also warned Western nations not to attack Russian territories, which would lead to swift retaliation.

Putin’s speech on Wednesday comes as the Russian invasion has dragged on for nearly seven months and amid a successful Ukrainian military counteroffensive.

Conscription is “fully suited to the threats we face, namely to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and the peoples in the liberated territories”, he said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during a meeting on the military-industrial complex at the Kremlin, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.
(Contributor/Getty Images)

“We are talking about partial mobilization, that is, only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription, and above all, those who have served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience “, Putin said.

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Putin’s partial mobilization is due to begin on Wednesday.

The statement also comes a day after Russia announced its intention to hold elections in Russian-held regions of eastern and southern Ukraine. This would allow these regions to join Russia. Such elections would undoubtedly aggravate the war.

IZIUM, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 20: A Russian tank and a destroyed bridge are seen on September 20, 2022 in Izium, Ukraine.

IZIUM, UKRAINE – SEPTEMBER 20: A Russian tank and a destroyed bridge are seen on September 20, 2022 in Izium, Ukraine.
(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Putin threatened the West not to intervene. He also discouraged them from “singing nuclear” or using nuclear weapons against Russia.

“To those who allow themselves such statements about Russia, I want to remind that our country also has various means of destruction, and for separate and more modern components than those of NATO countries and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” Putin said.

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“It’s not a bluff,” added the Russian president.

Referendums are due to start on Friday in Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia and Donetsk regions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Grand Kremlin Palace, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Grand Kremlin Palace, September 20, 2022, in Moscow, Russia.
(Contributor/Getty Images)

If those regions voted successfully to join Russia, the deputy head of Russia’s Security Council said it would allow his country to use “all means” to defend them. Such a vote to join Russia is also considered “irreversible”, added Dmitry Medvedev.

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On Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky condemned the efforts and said such votes were “noise”.

“The situation on the front line clearly indicates that the initiative belongs to Ukraine,” he said. “Our positions do not change because of noise or announcements somewhere. And we have the full support of our partners in this regard.”

KYIV, UKRAINE - SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 - Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the press during his meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.

KYIV, UKRAINE – SEPTEMBER 15, 2022 – Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy speaks to the press during his meeting with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in Kyiv, capital of Ukraine.
(Hennadii Minchenko/Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)

The referendum votes, which were also rejected by Western leaders, are expected to go in favor of Russia.

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“I thank all of Ukraine’s friends and partners for today’s massive strong and principled condemnation of Russia’s attempts to hold new sham referendums,” Zelenskyy said.

A nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, which has become an urgent concern for the international community amid Russian provocations, is believed to be firmly under Russian control after an election to join the country.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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