Putin sets partial military call-up, won’t ‘bluff’ on nukes

By KARL RITTER

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia on Wednesday, risking a deeply unpopular step that follows a string of humiliating setbacks for his troops nearly seven months after invading Ukraine.

It’s the first mobilization in Russia since World War II and is sure to further fuel tensions with the Western backers of Ukraine, who derided the move as an act of weakness. The move also sent Russians scrambling to buy plane tickets out of the country.

The Russian leader, in a seven-minute televised address to the nation aired on Wednesday morning, also warned the West that he isn’t bluffing over using all the means at his disposal to protect Russia’s territory, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Russia’s nuclear capability. Putin has previously warned the West not to back Russia against the wall and has rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to help Ukraine.

The total number of reservists to be called up could be as high as 300,000, officials said.

Even a partial mobilization is likely to increase dismay, or sow doubt, among Russians about the war in Ukraine. Shortly after Putin’s address, Russian media reported a sharp spike in demand for plane tickets abroad amid an apparent scramble to leave despite exorbitant prices for flights.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who was asked what had changed since he and others previously said no mobilization was planned, argued that Russia is effectively fighting against a combined potential of NATO because the alliance’s members have been supplying weapons to Kyiv.

Only those with relevant combat and service experience will be mobilized, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said. He added that there are around 25 million people who fit this criteria, but only around 1% of them will be mobilized.

Another clause in the decree …read more

Source:: The Denver Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.