On Wednesday morning, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave his much-awaited speech.
Putin announced the partial mobilization of up to 300,000 reservists despite repeated statements and promises on the contrary.
“President Putin’s breaking of his own promises not to mobilise parts of his population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine, are an admission that his invasion is failing,” British Minister of Defense Ben Wallace said in response to the Russian leader’s announcements.
The partial mobilization could provide the Russian military with approximately 300,000 troops. But the process isn’t as clear-cut as it seems, and any new troops will take weeks and months to turn up on the frontlines. On the one hand, this suggests that Moscow is in for the long run and won’t mind stretching the war.
But, on the other hand, it also indicates that the Russian military will continue to be on the defensive strategically.
“He and his Defense Minister have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill equipped and badly led. No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are unity and Russia is becoming a global pariah,” Wallace added.
Moreover, Putin announced the extension of contracts for Russian professional contract soldiers. This extension is most likely to backfire on Moscow. These troops already had bad morale, and the unilateral extension of their service in a combat zone is bound to negatively affect their effectiveness. There is no more inefficient troop than one that doesn’t believe in the cause and has been forced to fight.
The extraordinary circumstances under which these referenda will take place alongside credible and reasonable suspicions of corruption and interference combine to invalidate the outcomes before the votes have even taken place.
“Even nuclear blackmail has come into play. We are talking not only about the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant encouraged by the West, which threatens to unleash nuclear a nuclear catastrophe but also about statements by some high-ranking representatives of leading NATO countries on the possibility and admissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia—nuclear weapons,” the Russian leader said.
Putin’s statements, however, are unfounded. It is the Russian military that has occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, and is using it to house troops and artillery.
“I want to remind those who allow themselves such statements that our country also has a variety of weapons of mass destruction and in some areas even more modern than those in NATO countries. And if the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we will without any question use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people. This is not a bluff,” Putin stated.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.