The main announcements of Vladimir Putin on the war in Ukraine

Vladimir Putin assures him, these are not empty threats. During an official speech broadcast on Wednesday, the Russian president notably announced that he was ready to use nuclear weapons to “defend himself against the West”. While on the ground in Ukraine, the Russian army seems to be floundering for several weeks, the Kremlin has also unveiled the mobilization of 300,000 reservists. The point on the various declarations of Moscow.

Partial mobilization of reservists

Faced with lightning counter-offensives by kyiv forces which have pushed back the Russian army, Vladimir Putin has chosen to bet on an escalation of the conflict, with a measure which opens the way for the influx of Russian soldiers into Ukraine. After the announcement on Tuesday of the organization of annexation “referendums” in four regions of eastern and southern Ukraine from Friday, the measure taken by the Russian president marks a turning point in the conflict.

“I consider it necessary to support the proposal [du ministère de la Défense] of partial mobilization of citizens in reserve, those who have already served (…) and who have relevant experience, “he said in a recorded television address broadcast Wednesday morning. “We are only talking about partial mobilization,” insisted the Russian president, while rumors of a general mobilization aroused the concern of many Russians.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that 300,000 reservists were affected by this mobilization order, barely “1.1% of mobilizable resources”. This order is effective from Wednesday, said the Russian president. The corresponding decree was published soon after on the Kremlin website. The American ambassador in kyiv considered that this measure was a “sign of weakness” of Russia, faced with a shortage of personnel to carry out its offensive in Ukraine, which enters its eighth month this week.

Nuclear threat

“It’s not a bluff,” insisted, looking serious, Vladimir Putin. Once again, he brandished the nuclear threat against the Western countries which he accuses of wanting to “destroy” Russia and of resorting to “nuclear blackmail” against it. The head of the Kremlin accuses the West of having “exceeded all limits in its aggressive policy” and of wanting to “weaken, divide and, ultimately, destroy our country”.

“Nuclear blackmail is also used (…) I would like to remind those who make such statements that our country also has various means of destruction, some of which are more modern than those of NATO countries”, threatened the Russian president. “We will certainly use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people,” he continued. I say all the means”.

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His defense minister told him that Russia was “not fighting Ukraine so much as the West”. Russian military doctrine provides for the possibility of resorting to nuclear strikes if territories considered Russian by Moscow are attacked.

Military objectives unchanged

“The goal of the West is to weaken, divide and destroy Russia”, launched the Russian president in his televised address. According to him, the West wants to “remove the centers of sovereign and independent development” in the world to strengthen itself.

“The objectives of the military operation have been and remain unchanged”, finally argued Vladimir Putin. Russia launched its offensive in Ukraine by claiming to want to defend the Russian-speaking populations there oppressed by a “Nazi” power and to demilitarize the country.

5,937 Russian soldiers killed, according to Moscow

Russia has acknowledged a toll of 5,937 soldiers killed since the start of its offensive in Ukraine at the end of February, a toll well below Ukrainian and Western estimates. “Our losses to date are 5,937 dead,” Sergei Shoigu said in an interview with the Russia-24 television channel, alongside Vladimir Putin’s speech. At the end of March, the latest report announced by the Russian Ministry of Defense reported 1,351 soldiers killed.

Annexation referendums

On the eve of the announcements of the Russian Head of State, the authorities of the separatist zones or under occupation in Ukraine had announced “referendums” of annexation by Russia from September 23 to 27. These elections will take place in the Donetsk and Lugansk regions, which form Donbass (east), as well as in the occupied areas of Kherson and Zaporozhye, in the south. These votes were immediately criticized by Ukraine, its president Volodymyr Zelensky minimizing the importance of these “pseudo-referendums”. Westerners have also criticized them, with Berlin calling them “fictional” and Washington calling them “sham” elections.

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