September 25, 2022

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Putin announced a partial mobilization of the population amid the war in Ukraine

(CNN) — Russia will partially mobilize its citizens, President Vladimir Putin announced during a much-anticipated address to the nation on Wednesday morning.

“I consider it necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to guarantee the safety of our people and people in the liberated territories. Mobilization in the Russian Federation,” he said.

Putin announced that efforts to begin partial mobilization would begin on Wednesday. A partial mobilization order has already been signed, he said.

“I repeat, we are only talking about partial mobilization. That is, only citizens in reserve and, above all, those who have served in the armed forces, with certain military specialties and relevant experience will be conscripted.”

“After the Kyiv regime today publicly rejected a peaceful solution to the Donbas problem and, moreover, declared its claim to nuclear weapons, it became absolutely clear that a new, upcoming large-scale offensive, as has already happened twice in Donbas. It was inevitable”.

It’s not clear what Putin meant by nuclear weapons.

At the start of his speech, Putin said on Wednesday that the West was trying to destroy Russia.

“The aim of the West is to weaken, divide and finally destroy our country,” Putin said. “They are already directly saying that they managed to divide the Soviet Union in 1991, and now the time has come for Russia to divide itself. There are many regions and regions, deadly hostile to each other.

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The partial demobilization comes amid a drive to amend the law on military service

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announcement of partial demobilization followed moves by the State Duma, Moscow’s lower house of parliament, on Tuesday to amend the law on military service, toughening penalties for violating military service obligations. State news agency TASS.

How do Russian soldiers escape from a Ukrainian outpost? 0:56

The bill establishes a prison sentence of up to 15 years for resistance to military service or incitement to disobey an official military order, violence or threat thereof, during mobilization or martial law.

Deputies and senators of the State Duma have prepared amendments to the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation, proposing up to five years in prison for negligently destroying or damaging weapons and military equipment during the war. RIA Novosti news agency reported.

State Duma representatives have introduced the concepts of “mobilization”, “martial law”, “wartime” and “armed conflict” into Russian criminal law, which will now be considered aggravating factors in criminal sentences.

While Putin’s announcement on Wednesday fell short of full-scale conscription, some predicted it would represent a significant move in the conflict and give Russia broader powers to recruit its citizens with prior military experience.

It is not clear how many people with this background have already been mobilized.

Lack of staff

Analysts say the Russian military is facing a significant shortage of military personnel.

In July, CNN reported a call for more than 30,000 volunteers across Russia to join the war effort in Ukraine. Attractive big cash bonus and no experience required.

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Putin acknowledged Ukrainian attacks on Russian territories

President Vladimir Putin has acknowledged that Ukraine attacked the Belgorod and Kursk regions in southwestern Russia.

“Such terrorist attacks, including the use of Western weapons, are already taking place in the border settlements of Belgorod and Kursk regions,” Putin said during his speech on Wednesday.

“With its aggressive anti-Russian policy, the West has crossed the line,” he added.

Local Russian authorities and the country’s defense ministry previously accused Ukraine of carrying out the attacks in the Belgorod and Kursk regions. But it is believed to be the first time Putin has addressed the issue, acknowledging that the war is coming home.

Kyiv has not acknowledged those attacks and says it is only using Western weapons to attack Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine.

In the past, US President Joe Biden has said US weapons should not be used to attack Russia (unlike Russian territory in Ukraine), while Ukrainian presidential adviser Alexei Arestovich told CNN in May that they would not use them to attack Russian territory.

CNN’s Katya Krebs and Matthew Chance contributed reporting.