Vladimir Putin delivered a national speech announcing the partial mobilization of troops in Russia. He said the army was facing the collective west’s military operations on a frontline of more than 1,000 km in Ukraine. Those in the military reserves would be called up.
Putin also said Russia will give its full support to the referendums announced this weekend in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya to join the Russian Federation. He accused the west of starting a war against Russia in Ukraine in 2014. “In its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the west has crossed all borders,” the Russian president said. He accused the West of plotting to destroy Russia and using nuclear blackmail.
Putin said he would use “all the means at our disposal” and that those who try to use nuclear blackmail against Russia will find that the tables can be turned against them. He said explicitly, “I’m not bluffing.”
Russian plenipotentiary authorities in four occupied territories of Ukraine — Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya — announced on Tuesday that they plan to hold referendums on joining the Russian Federation between September 23 and 27. a move that could greatly escalate the war.
Speaking in a video address released early Wednesday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said: regarding the referenda: “Our position does not change according to this noise or any other announcement”. Kiev said the “appearance” referendums were futile and promised to “eliminate” Russia’s threats, saying its forces would continue to retake territory no matter what Moscow or its proxies announced. Zelenskiy will speak to the UN General Assembly via video link on Wednesday.
White House rejected Russia’s plans to hold referendums adding that Moscow may be taking the step of recruiting troops in those areas after suffering major losses on the battlefield. Jake Sullivan, President Joe Biden’s national security adviser, called the referendum an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Several world leaders have said they will not recognize referendums or new annexations of Ukrainian territorywith French President Emmanuel Macron calling the plan a “parody”.
Any referendum on accession to Russia in the Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories would destroy any remaining windows for talks between Kiev and Moscow, Ukrainian publication Liga.net quoted the Ukrainian president’s spokesman as saying on Tuesday. “Without the referenda, there is the least chance of a diplomatic solution. After the referendum – no,” Liga.net quoted Serhiy Nykyforov as saying.
Earlier this week, Putin condemned what he described as US efforts to maintain its global domination, saying they are doomed to failure. Speaking while receiving credentials from foreign ambassadors in Moscow, Putin said: “The objective move towards a multipolar world is meeting resistance from those who seek to maintain their hegemony in global affairs and control everything – Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa. .”
With Germany’s gas storage facilities now at just over 90% capacity, Economics Minister Robert Habeck said Germany now has “a good chance” of making it through the winter. Germany is ahead of its target to have its underground stores 95% full by early November.
The General Staff of the Ukrainian Armed Forces said on Tuesday evening that its operations in Donetsk near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka causing Russia to suffer “significant losses”. But Russia has shelled those cities and dozens of others in northeast and south Ukraine, the general staff said.
US senators on Tuesday proposed that the Biden administration use secondary sanctions against international banks to strengthen a price cap that G7 countries plan to impose on Russian oil. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen and Republican Senator Pat Toomey announced a framework for legislation to impose the secondary sanctions, which would target financial institutions involved in trade finance, insurance, reinsurance and brokerage of Russian oil and petroleum products that are sold at prices exceeding the upper limit.
Reuters and Agence France-Presse contributed to his report