Russian President Vladimir Putin has announced a partial mobilization, a significant escalation that places the country’s people and economy on a wartime footing.
Putin also threatened nuclear retaliation against what he called western threats to Russian territorial integrity, saying that Russia had “lots of weapons to reply” and stressing that he was not bluffing.
The president said that Russia’s first mobilization since the second world war was a direct response to the dangers posed by the west, which “wants to destroy our country”, also claiming that the west had tried to “turn Ukraine’s people into cannon fodder”.
“Military service will apply only to citizens who are currently in the reserve, especially those who have served in the armed forces, have certain military professions and relevant experience,” he said.
Shortly after Putin’s announcement, the country’s defense minister, Sergei Shoigu, said 300,000 Russians would be called up as part of the mobilization that will apply to “those with previous military experience”.
“These are not people who’ve never seen or heard anything about the army,” he said, adding that students can “keep going to class”.
The contracts of soldiers currently fighting in Ukraine will also be extended to cover the partial mobilization period.