In a nationwide address that was delayed from its prime-time Tuesday delivery and ahead of votes in four Ukraine regions to join Russia, on Wednesday morning Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial military mobilization, while vowing to use all means necessary to defend Russia and pledged to annex the territories already occupied by Russia, raising the stakes in the seven-month-old conflict.
Calling the moves “urgent, necessary steps to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia,” Putin said that Russia is fighting the full might of NATO. The US and its allies, he said, are seeking to “destroy” Russia.
The partial mobilization means that reservists will be drafted into military service, Putin said, starting immediately. The Armed Forces will draw on military reservists only, and those who have completed national service, the president said promising that they will be provided with additional training along with all the benefits due to people involved in active duty.
The measure is "sensible and necessary" under the circumstances, Putin stated, adding that he has already signed an order for the call-up to start immediately.
In his speech, Putin accused Kiev of backing away from peace talks, acting on direct orders from its Western allies. Instead of negotiating, the Ukrainian government has beefed up its military with NATO-trained troops, many of whom are neo-Nazi extremists, he said.
Putin also accused the west of using "nuclear blackmail" against Russia noting that "if its territorial integrity is threatened Russia will definitely use all the means at its disposal." to defend Russian territory. "This is not a bluff."