Putin says he is not bluffing and has ‘many weapons’ as he orders partial mobilization of reserve forces | world news

President Putin has accused the West of “nuclear blackmail” and warned that he has “many weapons to answer”.

In a rare address to the nation, he said he was not bluffing and would use “all the resources at our disposal” if Russian territory was threatened.

Mr Putin also ordered an immediate “partial mobilization” – calling up military reserves for the Ukraine war – a move that the Russian defense minister said involved about 300,000 troops.

Live: Putin orders ‘partial mobilization’ in Ukraine and calls up military reservists

“Now they (the West) are talking about nuclear blackmail,” the Russian leader said.

He cited claims that Ukraine is shelling the occupied Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and said some representatives of NATO states had raised the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Russia.

He said they should remember that his country has “several weapons of destruction, and with regard to certain components, they are even more modern than NATO’s”.

“If there is a threat to the territorial integrity of our country and to the protection of our people, we will certainly use all available means – and I am not bluffing,” he said. President Putin.

He also approved referendums in four Ukrainian regions under Russian occupation.

Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhia announced plans for Tuesday’s referendum.

Those are scheduled from September 23-27. Together, the regions make up about 15% of the Ukrainian territory.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba has rejected the plans, saying: “The Russians can do whatever they want. It won’t change anything.”

The British Ministry of Defense said the referendums were likely “motivated by fears of an imminent Ukrainian attack and the expectation of increased security after they formally become part of Russia”.

Putin’s speech comes after Ukrainian counter-attacks have recaptured large parts of the territory in recent weeks.

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President Putin repeatedly called Ukrainian troops “neonazis” and accused them of committing “acts of terror” against civilians in Russian-controlled areas.

He said 5,937 Russian troops had died in the war.

This is much lower than the 40,000+ quoted by Ukraine and the 15,000 estimate given by the head of MI6 in July.

Secretary of State Gillian Keegan told Sky News that Putin’s nuclear threat was something to “take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control — I’m not sure he’s in control either, really.

“This is clearly an escalation,” she said.

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