Putin rattles the nuclear sabre

Ahead of his much-anticipated address, Putin had signed an Executive Order for the call-up to start the mobilisation immediately.

AgenciesUpdated: Wednesday, September 21, 2022, 11:35 PM IST
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Russian President Vladimir Putin | twitter/@Terror_Alarm

Moscow: President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday ordered partial mobilisation of some 300,000 reservists after the Russian military suffered a series of setbacks in the raging conflict with Ukraine, saying the move was essential to protect Russia's sovereignty as the "West is seeking to weaken, divide and finally destroy this country."

Putin made the announcement in a televised address to the nation in which he also said Russia would use “all the means at its disposal” to protect its territory and warned the West that "this is not a bluff".

Ahead of his much-anticipated address, Putin had signed an Executive Order for the call-up to start the mobilisation immediately.

Since early September, Ukrainian forces have swiftly recaptured large swathes of land in Ukraine's Kharkiv region that Russian troops had seized in the early days of the war that began on Feb 24.

The stretched-out frontline, the constant shelling of Russian borderline areas by Ukrainian forces, and attacks on liberated regions required the call-up of servicemen from the reserve, Putin said in his address.

His speech came a day after the Lugansk and Donetsk People's Republics, as well as the Russian-controlled Kherson and Zaporozhye regions on Tuesday announced that they would hold referenda from Sep 23-27 on whether to join Russia.

Commenting on Putin's announcement, US President Joe Biden said Russia has "shamelessly violated the core tenets" of the United Nations Charter.

In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Biden said Putin's nuclear threat showed a "reckless disregard" for Russia's responsibilities as a signatory of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

"A nuclear war cannot be won and it must never be fought," he said.

Biden said this war is about extinguishing Ukraine's right to exist and the US "will stand in solidarity against Russia's aggression."

Reacting to Putin's address, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said he did not believe the world would allow the Russian leader to use nuclear weapons.

Zelensky also warned against being cowed by Putin's threats, saying they would invite Russia to attempt to take more territory. The Russian president's announcement showed he wanted to drown Ukraine in blood, including that of his own soldiers, Zelensky said.

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