Putin accused the West “nuclear blackmail”, and warned that he has plenty of weapons to respond.
He made a rare address to the nation and said that he was not bluffing. If Russian territory were threatened, he would use all the means at his disposal.
Also, Putin ordered an immediate “partial mobilization”, i.e. calling up military reserves to support the Ukraine war. Russia’s defense minister stated that this move amounted to about 300,000.
Putin orders partial mobilisation in Ukraine, and calls up military reserveists
The Russian leader stated that “Now they (the West), are talking about nuclear blackmail.”
He mentioned claims that Ukraine had attacked the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, and claimed that some NATO members had suggested the possibility of using nuclear arms against Russia.
He told them that his country has “various weapons of destruction” and that certain components are more advanced than NATO.
“If there’s a threat to our country’s territorial integrity, and to protect our people, then we will certainly utilize all the means available to help,” stated President Putin.
He also approved referendums for four Ukrainian regions that were under Russian occupation.
Donetsk and Luhansk, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia , announced Tuesday’s plans .
They are set to be held from 23 September to 27 September. The regions together make up approximately 15% of Ukraine’s territory.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, has rejected the plans and stated that “the Russians can do what they want.” It won’t change anything.”
According to the UK Ministry of Defence, the referendums were likely motivated by “fears of an imminent Ukrainian attack” and “an expectation of greater security once Russia is officially joined”.
Reserve call up an ‘admission to failure’
After large areas of Ukrainian territory were retaken by counterattacks in recent weeks, Mr Putin speaks.
Ben Wallace, UK Defence Secretary, stated that the president’s call up of reserves was a breach of one of his promises and an “admission” that his invasion is failing.
He tweeted that President Trump had “sent Tens of Thousand Russians to Their Death” and that “no amount propaganda or threats can conceal the fact that Ukraine has won this war.”
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In his Wednesday morning speech, President Putin called Ukrainian forces “neo Nazis” and accused them “acts of terror”.
He stated that 5,937 Russian soldiers had been killed during the war.
This is significantly lower than the 40,000+ estimate by Ukraine, and the 15,000 estimate by MI6 in July.
Gillian Keegan, Foreign Office minister, told Sky News that Vladimir Putin’s nuclear threat was something Sky News should “take very seriously”.
She stated, “This is clearly an escalation.”