Russia on Wednesday announced the immediate partial mobilization of 300,000. reservists and threatened to deploy nuclear weapons in the war with Ukraine.

In a pre-recorded speech on state television, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he was calling on reservists to help in Russia’s war against Ukraine, but had not yet introduced general conscription. Reservists with training and experience will be called first, he added.

Putin’s strategy allows him to avoid the violent political influence of wealthier families in Moscow and St. Petersburg who have to send their children without military experience to fight on the front lines.

By making false claims about NATO’s alleged nuclear threats to Russia and claiming it is at war with a collective West that is trying to “weaken, divide and destroy” Russia, Putin boasted of Moscow’s advantage of nuclear weapons.

“To defend Russia and our nation, we will no doubt use all the weapons we have at our disposal,” Putin said. “This is not a bluff.”

Putin also said Russia “will do whatever it takes to ensure a safe environment” for Kremlin-installed plenipotentiaries in four Ukrainian regions, which on Tuesday pledged to hold referendums this week on joining the Russian Federation.

On Tuesday, Russia’s plenipotentiaries in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas, the self-proclaimed People’s Republics of Lugansk (LPR) and Donetsk (DRL), declared that they would soon hold referendums to recognize them as part of Russia. Kremlin officials in the southern Kherson region of Ukraine have also indicated that they plan to hold a referendum, and pro-Russian authorities in the Zaporizhia oblast have signaled that they will do the same.

Ukraine, the US, the EU and other Western allies have said they will not recognize the results of these bogus referenda.

State television, affected by the successful Ukrainian counteroffensive in recent weeks, is preparing the Russians for some escalation. Recognition by Russia of part of Ukraine as its own territory would lead to such a military escalation, from a massive att*ck on Ukrainian energy infrastructure to the use of nuclear weapons.

For its part, Kyiv says that Putin’s threats will not deter his forces from making great pressure to oust Russian soldiers from eastern and southern Ukraine.

Putin also announced that volunteers currently fighting for Russia in its war in Ukraine will receive the same legal status as ordinary military personnel. He said that those who are mobilized to fight in the war with Ukraine will receive a salary and receive the status of military personnel serving under contract.

Speaking directly after Putin, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that the partial mobilization would delegate 300,000. additional soldiers who have military experience and specialized training. Students and currently called soldiers will not be affected. He added that Russia has 25 million people with military experience, saying the current partial mobilization only covers about 1 percent. this number.

“We are fighting not only against Ukraine, but against the collective West,” said Shoigu. He added that so far 5,937 Russians have died in the war. This figure is much lower than the country’s estimated loss, and Ukrainians say they have “eliminated” more than 50,000 Russian workers. Shoigu claimed that the Russians killed 61,207 Ukrainian soldiers and injured 49,368.

On the eve of Putin’s speech, prices of flights from Russia rose and prices continued to rise on Wednesday. For example, Aeroflot economy seats from Moscow to Istanbul were completely sold out by the end of September, and several business class seats were available for thousands of euros.

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