Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree calling for 300,000 reservists to fight in Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization after Moscow’s troops suffered losses in Ukraine.
In a televised address on Wednesday, Putin warned Western countries that support Ukraine that Moscow would defend itself with the might of all its vast arsenal if it faced a nuclear threat from the West.
The Russian leader’s blunt warning marks the biggest escalation of the war since Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine and was accompanied by the decision to call up an additional 300,000 reservists.
Here’s what we know:
What did President Vladimir Putin say?
- On September 21, President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia’s first mobilization since World War II in a pre-recorded early morning television speech, saying it would take additional manpower to win a war against Ukraine and its Western backers.
- “In order to protect our motherland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated areas, I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff for a partial mobilization in the Russian Federation,” Putin said.
- “We are talking about partial mobilization. That is, only civilians currently in the reserves and especially those who have served in the armed forces have military skills and relevant experience. Only they will be conscripted,” he added.
- “Conscripts will be required to undergo additional military training based on the experience of the special military operation before departing for the units,” Putin said, according to a translation from the Associated Press news agency.
- Putin’s speech came after seven months of fighting and follows recent battlefield losses for Moscow’s troops.
- It also came a day after Russia-controlled regions of eastern and southern Ukraine announced plans to vote to become an integral part of Russia — a move that could set the stage for Moscow to escalate the war. after Ukrainian successes.
What does partial mobilization mean?
- Putin said conscription will begin on Wednesday, without giving many details.
- Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defense minister, said he expected 300,000 people to be drafted from the country’s vast reserves of about 25 million people.
- Only those with relevant combat and service experience are called up. Shoigu said about 25 million people will meet this order, but only about 1 percent will be drafted.
- “In general, a full mobilization would mean that any man of military age, between the ages of 18 and 60, cannot leave Russia and must join the military. It is unclear whether this partial mobilization means that,” said Gabriel Elizondo of Al Jazeera from Kiev, Ukraine.
- The British Ministry of Defense said the move was likely to limit desertions and to ease immediate pressure on the military.
- Poor Petimezas, a senior analyst at AFS group, told Reuters news agency: “It is not yet an all-out war for Russia because there is no full mobilization. But I think Putin is underestimated. He has escalated every time. For him it is life and death. I don’t see why his next move will be de-escalation unless he wins.”
Russia’s civilian and military leadership has been under considerable pressure over the past two weeks. These new measures have most likely been brought forward as a result of public criticism and mark a further development in Russia’s strategy.
— Ministry of Defense 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) September 21, 2022
Why did Ukraine say?
- Ukrainian officials have flatly ridiculed Russia’s latest moves on annexation and mobilization, saying Moscow is behaving in a desperate manner after defeats on the battlefield.
- The adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhaylo Podolyak, mocked Moscow’s latest moves in a Twitter post.
- “Everything is still going according to plan, right? Life has a great sense of humor,” he wrote.
- “210th day of the ‘Three Day War’. Russians who demanded the destruction of Ukraine were eventually given: 1. Mobilization 2. Closed borders, blocking of bank accounts, 3. Prison for desertion,” said Podolyak.
210th day of the “Three Day War”. Russians who demanded the destruction of 🇺🇦 finally got:
2. Borders closed, bank accounts blocked.
3. Prison for desertion.
Everything is still according to plan, right? Life has a great sense of humor.
— ихайло одоляк (@Podolyak_M) September 21, 2022
What were the direct economic effects?
- The euro plunged to a two-week low against the dollar, European equity markets slumped and investors piled up in safe-haven bonds, pushing German and US government debt yields lower.
- Investors sought the safety of US Treasuries and the Japanese Yen.
- British and Dutch gas prices rose on fears of another blow to global financial and energy markets.
- The Russian ruble fell to a low of more than two months, towards $63.
- “The initial implications are clear: it is a potential escalation that is negative for the outlook in the eurozone, so it is not surprising that the euro is weaker. It has strengthened risk aversion in general, so the dollar is stronger,” Colin Asher, senior economist at Mizuho Corporate Bank, told Reuters.
- “It was interesting to me that the dollar/yen fell on the news of the announcement, possibly indicating a return to the safe haven of the yen, which has been absent for much of the year.”