http://www.kremlin.ru, CC BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Vladimir Putin has announced the partial mobilization of 300,000 reservists as he escalates the war on Ukraine. The mobilization of additional military personnel is said to occur in stages with students not being summoned. Putin is focusing the mobilization on military service members with previous combat deployments and specific military specializations.
In addition to calling up reservists, Putin also vowed to annex Ukrainian territories that are already occupied by Russian forces. He went on to defend the mobilization stating that it is, “…urgent, necessary steps to defend the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of Russia.”
Putin accused Ukraine of backing away from peace talks at the urging of its Western allies and stated that the U.S. and its allies were trying to “destroy” Russia. He also stated that Ukraine’s military has been bulked up by NATO-trained troops. He described some of those troops as neo-Nazi extremists.
While Putin made it clear who would be involved in the mobilization, he was vague as to how long it would continue saying only that contracts for reservists would last, “until the end of the partial mobilization period.”
In addition to Putin’s address, Russian Minister of Defense, Sergei Shoigu also gave comments stating that “We are at war not so much with Ukraine as with the collective West.” He also claimed that over the past 3 weeks more than 7,000 Ukrainian soldiers and 970 pieces of equipment, which includes 208 tanks have been destroyed during a special operation.
In Ukrain, there are 4 referendums set to begin Friday in 2 Donbass republics and 2 regions of Ukraine that are largely under Russian control. The regions of Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson, and Zaporizhzhia have all announced plebiscites to determine whether or not to become part of Russia. Putin has said that he will honor the outcomes of the referendum and has offered to provide security for them.
Meanwhile as the world watches and waits, Latvia has announced that it will not issue humanitarian visas to Russian citizens who are avoiding the mobilization. The Latvian Foreign Minster cited security reasons for the decision.