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

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.”

The UK’s defence secretary Ben Wallace has issued a statement in response to Vladimir Putin’s address this morning. The Conservative minister said:

President Putin’s breaking of his own promises not to mobilise parts of the population and the illegal annexation of parts of Ukraine are an admission that his invasion is failing.

He and his defence minister have sent tens of thousands of their own citizens to their deaths, ill-equipped and badly led..

No amount of threats and propaganda can hide the fact that Ukraine is winning this war, the international community are united and Russia is becoming a global pariah.

The Czech prime minister, Petr Fiala, has tweeted to say:

The partial mobilisation announced by Vladimir Putin is an attempt to further escalate the war launched by Russia in Ukraine and further proof that Russia is the only aggressor. Aid to Ukraine is needed and we must continue to do so in our own interest.

Častečná mobilizace, kterou vyhlásil V. Putin, je snahou o další eskalaci Ruskem rozpoutané války na Ukrajině a dalším důkazem toho, že jediným agresorem je právě Rusko.

Pomoc Ukrajině je potřeba a musíme v ní v našem vlastním zájmu pokračovat.

— Petr Fiala (@P_Fiala) September 21, 2022

Vladimir Putin’s decision to announce a partial mobilisation has sent shockwaves across Russia on Wednesday morning.

Since the start of the war, the Russian president has sought to shield his population from the grim realities of his war, with the Kremlin eager to cultivate a sense of normality on the streets of Moscow and other major cities.

Many responded to these efforts, with polls consistently showing that the average Russian was quickly turning away from the war.

But with the decision to announce a partial mobilisation and the call-up of 300,000 mostly young Russian men, the war will now enter the household of many families across the country.

The partial mobilisation will also be seen as a major admission of the Kremlin’s military failures in Ukraine.

For months, the Kremlin pledged that it wasn’t going to resort to such measures, insisting that the so-called “special military operation” was going to plan.

The decision to mobilise will be welcomed by the pro-war bloggers and ultra-nationalist figures who have become some of Putin’s fiercest critics over the last few weeks following Russia’s swift retreat from the Kharkiv region in Ukraine.

China’s foreign ministry has urged all parties to engage in dialogue and consultation and find a way to address the security concerns of all parties after Russian president Vladimir Putin warned the west over what he described as “nuclear blackmail”.

Reuters reports Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said China’s position on Ukraine is consistent and clear at a regular media briefing.

Vladimir Putin has given a national address in which he has announced the partial mobilisation of troops in Russia. He said his forces were facing western military operations on the frontline in Ukraine and military reserves would be called up as a result. Putin also said Russia would give its “full support” to referendums on being annexed by Russia due to be held this weekend by the Russian proxy authorities in occupied Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia. Here is a video clip of the Russian president’s speech:

The partial mobilisation of troops ordered by Russia is a further escalation of the conflict in Ukraine to which the German government is considering its response, Germany’s vice chancellor has said.

Reuters reports Robert Habeck said it was “another bad and wrong step from Russia, which of course we will discuss and consult on politically regarding how to respond”.

Here is what Russian president Vladimir Putin said earlier about nuclear weapons:

Nuclear blackmail has also been used. We are talking not only about the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant – encouraged by the west – which threatens to cause a nuclear catastrophe, but also about statements from senior representatives of Nato countries about the possibility and permissibility of using weapons of mass destruction against Russia: nuclear weapons.

I would like to remind those who make such statements about Russia that our country also possesses various means of destruction, and in some cases they are more modern than those of Nato countries. When the territorial integrity of our country is threatened, we, of course, will use all the means at our disposal to protect Russia and our people.

This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them.

In the UK, Jonathan Reynolds, the opposition Labour party’s spokesperson for business, has been interviewed on Sky News, where he has said that the referendums being proposed for the weekend in occupied areas of Ukraine have “no legitimacy”.

He told viewers:

I think the claim that Russia made, and has made consistently, towards Ukraine that these are people who wish to be part of Russia, or be sympathetic, or break away from any Kyiv-orientated government is completely contradicted by the treatment of Ukrainians by Russian forces during this conflict. So I see no legitimacy in the claims that [Putin] is making in regards to the eastern side of Ukraine.

Russia’s mobilisation was a predictable step that will prove extremely unpopular and underscores that the war is not going according to Moscow’s plan, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak has told Reuters.

Podolyak said in a text message to the news agency that Vladimir Putin was trying to shift the blame for starting an “unprovoked war” and Russia’s worsening economic situation on to the west.

Here is a reminder of the geography and current status of the areas where Russia’s proxy authorities are proposing that referendums on joining the Russian Federation are to be held at the weekend.

About 60% of Donetsk oblast is under the control of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR), which has existed since 2014. To the north-east, the similarly self-proclaimed and largely unrecognised Luhansk People’s Republic (LPR) has control of the whole region, although in recent days Ukrainian forces had gained a symbolic toehold back having pushed in through Kharkiv from the west. Russia, Syria and North Korea are the only UN member states to recognise the DPR and LPR as legitimate authorities.

In the south of Ukraine, Russian forces do not have full control of the territory of either Kherson or Zaporizhzhia, where Russian-installed authorities are also proposing to conduct votes.

Situation map of Ukraine