Wednesday saw the first Russian mobilization since World War II, as President Vladimir Putin issued a warning to the West that Moscow would retaliate with the full force of its vast arsenal if it maintained its “nuclear blackmail”. .
In a televised address to the nation, Putin said: “If the territorial integrity of our country is challenged, we will use every means possible to protect our people – this is not a hoax.” He also said that Russia has “a lot of weapons to retaliate”.
According to the Russian Defense Minister, 300,000 reserves will be partially mobilized, and only those with prior military experience will be called upon.
The crisis over Ukraine has been dramatically aggravated by Putin’s partial mobilization, which comes as Russia battles a Ukrainian counteroffensive that has forced its troops to retreat and give up some of its occupied lands.
Putin claimed that the West does not desire peace in Ukraine and that partial military mobilization of Russia’s 2 million-strong military stockpile was necessary to protect Russia and its territories.