Moscow (CNSNews.com) – Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a partial mobilization, allowing Russia to replenish its fighting force in Ukraine by drawing upon its estimated two million military reservists.
“Only citizens who are currently in the reserve and, above all, those who served in the Armed Forces, who have certain military specialties and relevant experience, will be subject to conscription,” Putin said during a pre-recorded national address, aired on Russian television on Wednesday morning.
“Those called up for military service will undergo additional military training without fail, taking into account the experience of a special military operation, before being sent to units.”
Putin stated that he had already signed a decree on mobilization and would inform lawmakers of both houses of Russia’s parliament in writing later on Wednesday.
The Russian president added that partial mobilization will also require the country’s military-industrial complex to ramp up the production of weapons and equipment.
Following Putin’s speech, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu addressed the nation, saying the armed forces plan on calling up 300,000 reservists for service in Ukraine. He pledged that college students and conscripts would not be mobilized.
Putin’s announcement came after four Ukrainian regions controlled by Russian forces unveiled plans to hold referendums on joining Russia later this week. Endorsing those initiatives, Putin declared, “We cannot fail to respond to their sincere desire to determine their own destiny.”
Putin accused the West of seeking to “weaken, divide, and destroy” Russia, adding that Western governments were actively encouraging Ukraine to take the fight to Russian territory.
And he warned that if the West moved to deploy nuclear weapons against Russia, Moscow would offer an asymmetrical response.
“Our country also has various means of destruction, and in some components more modern than those of the NATO countries,” Putin said. “When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff.”
“The citizens of Russia can be sure that the territorial integrity of our Motherland, our independence and freedom will be secured with all the means at our disposal,” he said. “Those who are trying to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the wind can turn in their direction as well.”
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