Russia-Ukraine war live: Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia and pledges to use ‘all means available to us’


Russian president Vladimir Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia

Vladimir Putin has given a national address in which he has announced the partial mobilisation of forces in Russia. He said that the army was facing the military operations of the collective west on a frontline of over 1,000km in Ukraine. Those in the military reserves would be called up.

Putin also said Russia would give its full support to the referendums announced for this weekend in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to join the Russian Federation. He accused the west of starting a war against Russia in Ukraine in 2014.

“In its aggressive anti-Russian policy the west has crossed all lines,” the Russian president said. He accused the west of planning to destroy Russia and use nuclear blackmail.

Putin said he would use “all means available to us” and that those who are trying to use nuclear blackmail against Russia will find the tables can be turned against them. He explicitly said “I’m not bluffing.”

Key events

Going back to the words of Russian President Vladimir Putin for a minute, he said early in his speech “The aim of the West is to weaken and destroy Russia. They are openly saying that in 1991 they managed to destroy the Soviet Union and now is the time for Russia itself. That Russia will fall into many areas that are fighting themselves. They had those plans for a long time.”

He said of the west that “they made the Ukrainian people, cannon fodder and pushed them into the war”, and that they were “using the army against the civilian population, and organising the genocide and blockade and terror against the people who refused to acknowledge Ukrainian power is a result of the military coup.”

Our Moscow correspondent Andrew Roth reports that Russian soldiers will be having their contracts extended indefinitely as part of the partial mobilisation.

My colleague Luke Harding has just spoken to the BBC’s Today programme live from Kharkiv. He said of Putin’s speech:

It’s the usual kind of grudge list of accusations, and it is strange that more than six months into this conflict, Vladimir Putin is still living in a parallel reality, where really Russia didn’t invade Ukraine, but Ukraine threatened Russia. It is kind of upside down land.

I think we know what is coming next. That there will be a “referendum” in the territories of Ukraine which Russia occupies. And I think this is a kind of classic escalation. It is a Putin move where he says this is now Russia, and if Ukraine tries to seize back these territories, then, essentially, Moscow can do whatever it wants up to and including nuclear weapons. I think it is a bluff, but it is quite a quite a potent bluff.

Asked what other options Putin has, Harding said:

You have to understand the context, which is, where I am, in Kharkiv, the Ukrainian armed forces have just liberated territory about half the size of Wales and in more than 300 settlements they’ve been sort of pulverised and destroyed.

What’s clear, having been talking to people who have been under Russian occupation, is that there’s extremely limited support now for Russia in these occupied territories. And any kind of vote will be entirely fake. I mean, the paradox is that with his invasion, Putin has really kind of consolidated Ukraine as a state, and whatever differences that were there have kind of melted away.

UK Foreign Office minister accuses Putin of ‘a rewriting of history’

The Conservative MP Gillian Keegan, who was recently appointed a minister of state at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, has immediately accused the Russian president of “a rewriting of history” in a television interview on Sky News in the first response from the British government to Putin’s speech.

“Some of the language is quite concerning and obviously we should aim for calm,” she said. She urged Russian people to “look beyond your own media”.

“Let’s be clear,” she said, “there are Putin’s lies.”

“It is Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine,” she add. “And of course, we will still stand by Ukraine as well, with all of our Nato allies.”

She said of Putin’s threat to use nuclear weapons: “It is something that we should take very seriously because, you know, we’re not in control. I’m not sure he’s in control either. Really, I mean, this is obviously an escalation.”

Russian president Vladimir Putin announces ‘partial mobilisation’ of Russia

Vladimir Putin has given a national address in which he has announced the partial mobilisation of forces in Russia. He said that the army was facing the military operations of the collective west on a frontline of over 1,000km in Ukraine. Those in the military reserves would be called up.

Putin also said Russia would give its full support to the referendums announced for this weekend in Luhansk, Donetsk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia to join the Russian Federation. He accused the west of starting a war against Russia in Ukraine in 2014.

“In its aggressive anti-Russian policy the west has crossed all lines,” the Russian president said. He accused the west of planning to destroy Russia and use nuclear blackmail.

Putin said he would use “all means available to us” and that those who are trying to use nuclear blackmail against Russia will find the tables can be turned against them. He explicitly said “I’m not bluffing.”

Putin says the Russian army is acting as a military frontline of more than 1,000km facing the whole military operation of the collective west. For the defence of our motherland, Putin says he supports a “partial mobilisation, I stress it is partial mobilisation”. Only those who are currently in reserve will be conscripted. The decree of partial mobilisation has been signed.

Putin is now talking about the referendums, saying that Russia will do all it can to ensure safe conditions for the referendums for people to be able to express their will.

Putin has said that the Ukrainian army has been trained by Nato and is actually commanded by foreign commanders. He said the politics of terror and intimidation against Russia had intensified.

Putin is saying that they need volunteers fighting alongside the professional Russian army to be treated the same way including with payments and social guarantees.

Putin said people in the Donbas were being held hostage by Kyiv. He described the people fighting alongside the Russian army as “true patriots”.

Putin says a pre-emptive military operation was the only option possible because the west refused to have a peaceful solution to “the Donbas problem” and claiming the right to use nuclear weapons.

Russian president Vladimir Putin is currently speaking to the Russian people. He has started with a string of accusations against western countries, saying there have been many years of “total hatred” against Russia. He accuse the west of starting a war against Russia in Ukraine in 2014.

The UK Ministry of Defence has said in its latest intelligence update that the referenda in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia may have been brought forward amid “significant pressure” on Russian civilian and military leadership over the last two weeks.

Measures including the referendums and extended punishments for defaulting soldiers “have highly likely been brought forwards due to public criticism and mark a further development in Russia’s strategy”, the ministry said.

There’s still no confirmation of when Vladimir Putin will begin his big speech on annexations of Ukrainian territory. The prime-time televised address was postponed without explanation last night, with some Russian media figures reporting it was rescheduled to around 8AM Moscow time.
Forbes Russia, citing two sources in the Kremlin administration said the speech would be broadcast “when the Far East wakes up.”
There’s been a lot of speculation about the speech – analysts have suggested that the speech may also serve to announce a partial mobilisation in Russia.
In a press conference after a summit of Asian leaders last week, Putin had threatened escalation: “We are, indeed, responding rather restrainedly, but that’s for the time being,” Putin said. “If the situation continues to develop in this way, the answer will be more serious.”

Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said the US will never recognise Russian claims to any annexed parts of Ukraine, even if the referenda are held.

Any Russian sham “referenda” in Ukraine would be illegitimate and an affront to the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity that are the foundation of the @UN Charter just as world leaders are gathering at #UNGA. pic.twitter.com/WPNvCvCyhp

— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) September 20, 2022

“If Russia does stage these sham “referenda”, the United States and the international community will never recognize Russia’s claims to any purportedly-annexed parts of Ukraine. We continue to stand with the people of Ukraine,” he said.

Welcome

Welcome back to our live coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. I’m Tess McClure and will be liveblogging this morning. At 7.45am Kyiv time, these are the latest developments.

  • The proxy Russian authorities in four occupied areas of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia – announced on Tuesday their intentions to hold referendums between 23-27 September on joining the Russian Federation, a move that could sharply escalate the war.

  • Russia president Vladimir Putin is expected to address the Russian nation this morning. He is expected to make the televised speech, covering new annexations of Ukrainian territory, at 7am UK time.

  • Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskiy, speaking in a video address released early on Wednesday, said in relation to the referendums: “Our position does not change according to this noise or any other announcement”. Kyiv said the “sham” referendums were meaningless and vowed to “eliminate” threats posed by Russia, saying its forces would keep retaking territory regardless of what Moscow or its proxies announced. Zelenskiy will speak to the UN general assembly by video-link on Wednesday.

  • The White House rejected Russia’s plans to hold the referendums, adding that Moscow may be making the move to recruit troops in those areas after suffering extensive losses on the battlefield. Jake Sullivan, president Joe Biden’s national security adviser, called the referendums an affront to principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

  • Several world leaders have said they will not recognise any referendums or new annexations of Ukrainian territory, with French president Emmanuel Macron calling the plan a “parody”.

  • Any referendums on joining Russia in Russian-occupied Ukrainian territories would destroy any remaining window for talks between Kyiv and Moscow, Ukrainian publication Liga.net cited the Ukrainian president’s office spokesman as saying on Tuesday. “Without the referendums, there is still the smallest chance for a diplomatic solution. After the referendums – no,” Liga.net quoted Serhiy Nykyforov as saying.

  • Putin has condemned what he described as US efforts to preserve its global domination, saying they are doomed to fail. Speaking while receiving credentials from foreign ambassadors to Moscow, Putin said: “The objective development toward a multi-polar world faces resistance of those who try to preserve their hegemony in global affairs and control everything – Latin America, Europe, Asia and Africa.”

  • With Germany’s gas storage facilities now at just over 90% capacity, Robert Habeck, the economy minister, said Germany now stands “a good chance” of getting through the winter. Germany is ahead of its goal to have the subterranean stores 95% full by the start of November.

  • The general staff of Ukraine’s armed forces said on Tuesday evening that its operations in Donetsk near the towns of Bakhmut and Avdiivka caused Russia to suffer “significant losses”. But Russia shelled those towns and dozens more in north-eastern and southern Ukraine, the general staff said.

  • US senators on Tuesday proposed that Biden’s administration use secondary sanctions on international banks to strengthen a price cap G7 countries plan to impose on Russian oil. Democratic Senator Chris Van Hollen and Republican Senator Pat Toomey announced a framework for legislation to impose the secondary sanctions, which would target financial institutions involved in trade finance, insurance, reinsurance and brokerage of Russia oil and petroleum products sold at prices exceeding the cap.





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