Putin escalates war: military mobilization of 300,000 reservists

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On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military mobilization of the Russian population. He ordered 300,000 reservists be called into active duty. And claims he is also fast-tracking weapons production.

In a pre-recorded statement from the Kremlin the Russian President put his people on notice that the war in Ukraine was escalating.

He blamed the West for wanting to “destroy our country.” He said that Western nations had started a proxy war by providing weapons to Ukraine. And claimed they were trying to “turn Ukraine’s people into cannon fodder.”

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Then he threatened to use nuclear weapons. After continually warning “the West” that the country had “lots of weapons to reply” to what he described as Western threats, he said, “Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff.” 

Putin did not give additional details of the “mobilization events” except to say that although military reservists would be called into active service, a nationwide draft of Russian men of fighting age was not taking place.

Military mobilization reaction to battlefield losses

Last weekend Ukraine launched “lightning counter-offensives” in Russian occupied areas of the northeast and the south. And the strategy enabled them to not only reclaim lost territory but to decimate the Russian positions.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine in late February it has suffered losses on the battlefield. In what Russia calls a “special military operation” they have had tens of thousands of soldiers killed or captured. And Ukraine’s successful counterattack put Putin’s army on the defense.

A massive amount of Russia’s stocks of weapons were committed to the conflict with Ukraine. And the losses have mounted with Russia leaving behind equipment as the military fled previously occupied areas. 

Hundreds of weapons and military vehicles were destroyed or abandoned when Russia withdrew from the Kyiv area in March. And last weekend’s counterattack in the Kharkiv region has decimated the Russian battlefield weaponry.

Needless to say, morale is low within the Russian military. And all reports are that soldiers are abandoning the frontlines and running for their lives. On Tuesday the Russian Duma cracked down by increasing the punishment for desertion and other “crimes committed in conditions of mobilization, martial law, armed conflicts and hostilities.”