BusinessDay

Putin orders more troops to Ukraine

…tells the ‘West’ to back off

Vladimir Putin, president of Russia on Wednesday called 300,000 of the country’s reserve army to support the ongoing war in Ukraine. He said Moscow will respond with its full might and its vast military weapons if the West continues what he called “nuclear blackmail” over the ongoing conflict.

Putin’s move comes after Russian soldiers, who are now stranded in the south of Ukraine were forced out of the territory they had seized in northeastern Ukraine earlier this month during a Ukrainian counter-offensive.

“If the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will use all available means to protect our people – this is not a bluff, Russia has a lot of weapons to reply,” Putin said in a Russia-wide broadcast address.

Sergei Shoigu, Russia’s defence minister also revealed that 300,000 reservists will be called up as part of the partial mobilisation, and preference would be given to those with prior military experience.

This was the first such call-up since World War II, despite the country’s involvement in a number of conflicts since then. Conscripts were used throughout the protracted Afghan War of the Soviet Union.

Read also: Russia/Ukraine brawl: It’s too late to speak of de-escalation, says Envoy

Shoigu reported that 5,937 Russian soldiers have died in the fight thus far.

In July, the United States estimated that between 70,000 and 80,000 Russian soldiers had been killed or injured, and last month it stated it expected the number to be closer to 150,000.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, claimed that the Russian mobilization was an expected action that would be immensely unpopular and that it underlined that the war was not progressing in Moscow’s intended manner.

“Absolutely predictable appeal, which looks more like an attempt to justify their own failure,” Podolyak told Reuters. “The war is clearly not going according to Russia’s scenario.”

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia was criticized by world leaders gathered at the UN in New York.

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