Details: “Only citizens who are currently in the reserve will be subject to conscription and, above all, those who served in the armed forces have a certain military specialty and relevant experience,” Putin said in a televised address Wednesday during which he railed against the West, per an AP translation.
What he’s saying: Putin accused Western nations of “nuclear blackmail” and claimed “high-ranking representatives of the leading NATO states” had spoken “about the possibility of using nuclear weapons of mass destruction” against Russia.
- “To those who allow themselves such statements regarding Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction,” Putin said.
- “And for separate components and more modern than those of NATO countries and when the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, to protect Russia and our people, we will certainly use all the means at our disposal,” he added. “It’s not a bluff.”
What to watch: Putin’s comments come ahead of President Biden’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday in which he’ll “offer a firm rebuke of Russia’s unjust war in Ukraine,” according to White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan.
- Biden will also “make a call to the world to continue to stand against the naked aggression that we’ve seen these past several months,” Sullivan said at a briefing on Tuesday.
- The Kremlin on Tuesday paved the way for referendums in Russian-controlled separatist territories that have been widely condemned by world leaders and could lead to the annexation of nearly 15% of Ukraine.
- Voting is due take place in occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia over the weekend and the results are expected to be fixed in favor of joining Russia.
Editor’s note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.