Russian President Vladimir Putin in his national address on Wednesday morning strongly suggested that Russia would use its nuclear weapons on the West after he accused the region of engaging in “nuclear blackmail.”
“If Russia feels its territorial integrity is threatened, we will use all defense methods at our disposal, and this is not a bluff,” the Russian leader said.
In his pre-recorded address, Putin claimed that “nuclear blackmail has gone into action,” citing not just Ukraine’s alleged shelling of the nuclear power plant in occupied Zaporizhzhia, but also alleged statements made by high-ranking officials of leading NATO states about the possibility of using nuclear weapons against Russia.
“I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and with regard to certain components they’re even more modern than NATO ones,” Putin warned.
In his speech, Putin announced the escalation of the “special military operation” in Ukraine through partial mobilization, where only reservists and those with military experience will be conscripted.
Analysts say that the Kremlin’s decision to call on reservists — a reported 300,000 more troops — signals an admission that the Kremlin’s invasion is failing.
Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu also made a rare update on the casualties from the war in Ukraine, saying that “our losses for today are 5,937 dead,” and that Russia is “fighting not so much Ukraine as the collective West” in Ukraine.
The number of losses claimed by Shoigu is but a fraction of estimates from Ukraine and just a little over a third of the 15,000 July estimate from the United Kingdom and the United States.
Putin’s announcement of partial mobilization has caused some Russians to want to mobilize out of the country. Plane tickets out of Russia have started to sell out, particularly for destinations that still allow Russians to enter without a visa such as Turkey, Armenia, Georgia, and Serbia.
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