December 8, 2022

Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking from a wood-panelled operations room, issued another stern warning to the West on Wednesday after his country’s military suffered a series of embarrassing setbacks in Ukraine.

Putin announced a partial mobilization of reservists It could raise the number of available forces up to 300,000 and pose a veiled threat to Moscow’s willingness to use nuclear weapons.

Here is a look at the main findings from this speech and the West’s reaction to it.

Why is Putin making these threats now?

Putin’s military recall and potential nuclear threat come days after Ukraine’s military launched a surprise counterattack to retake lands around Kharkiv, its second largest city in the east.

“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction … And when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means available to us,” Putin said. In the televised address, adding with a long look at the camera: “It’s not a hoax.”

But his seven-minute speech was also broadcast as Russia prepares to hold referendums in the Ukrainian regions it now occupies, including those captured by Moscow-backed separatist forces after fighting broke out in 2014. The elections began on Friday and have already been rejected. As the illegitimate of Ukraine and its Western allies.

West vows to stay in the course

President Joe Biden led Western condemnation of Putin’s comments At the United Nations General Assembly, arguing that Moscow’s aggression must be met with a sustained resolve by Western countries to support Ukraine.

We will stand in solidarity against Russian aggression. He said “period”, denouncing Moscow’s plans to hold “sham” referendums in Ukraine as well as “Putin’s public nuclear threats against Europe”.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg echoed the Biden theme. This is a further escalation in Putin’s war. “The international community must condemn this flagrant violation of international law and increase its support for Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said in a tweet.

“The threat of nuclear weapons is unacceptable and a real danger to all … world peace is in danger,” added Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief.

No change in Ukraine’s goals

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said his country remains committed to restoring all of its sovereign territory, describing Putin’s remarks as evidence of Russia’s setbacks on the battlefield.

“We will act according to our plans, step by step. I am sure that we will liberate our lands,” Zelensky said in a television interview with the German newspaper Bild.

A spokesman for Zelensky described the Russian mobilization as a “great tragedy” for the Russian people. Speaking to the Associated Press, Sergei Nikiforov said recruits sent to the front lines in Ukraine would face a fate similar to that of unqualified Russian forces repulsed in their attack on Kyiv in the early days of the war.

“This is an admission of the impotence of the professional Russian army, which has failed in all its tasks,” said Nikiforov.

How will the Russians respond?

Despite the Kremlin’s tight grip on the Russian media, some criticism of the war in Ukraine has been broadcast in Russia since the last troop withdrawal.

Small anti-war protests were held in more than 30 Russian cities on Wednesday, according to monitoring group OVD-Info, which said more than 530 protesters were arrested, including 200 in St Petersburg and 150 in Moscow.

Russian political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin has argued that Putin’s mobilization will make the Russian military’s failures in the war all the more personal for many Russians.

Until recently (the Russians participated) with pleasure, sitting on their sofas, (watching) TV. Now the war has entered their home,” he told The Associated Press. “People will flee from this mobilization in every possible way, spray their way out of this mobilization, and leave the country.”

Russian media reported, on Wednesday, that people buying airline tickets were exposed to leave the country, Send ticket prices on the rise.


Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at

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