Putin orders partial military call-up, makes veiled nuclear threat

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia, in a measure that appeared to be an admission that Moscow’s war against Ukraine isn’t going according to plan after nearly seven months of fighting.

It’s the first mobilization in Russia since World War II and comes amid humiliating battlefield losses for the Kremlin’s forces in recent weeks.

The Russian leader, in a seven-minute televised address to the nation aired on Wednesday morning, also warned the West that he isn’t bluffing over using all the means at his disposal to protect Russia’s territory, in what appeared to be a veiled reference to Russia’s nuclear capability. Putin has previously warned the West not to back Russia against the wall and has rebuked NATO countries for supplying weapons to help Ukraine.

The total number of reservists to be called up could be as high as 300,000, officials said.

Even a partial mobilization is likely to increase dismay, or sow doubt, among Russians about the war in Ukraine. Shortly after Putin’s address, Russian media reported a sharp spike in demand for plane tickets abroad amid an apparent scramble to leave despite exorbitant prices for flights. Full story here:

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<p>In this image made from video released by the Russian Presidential Press Service, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022. </p>

Russian Presidential Press Service via AP

In this image made from video released by the Russian Presidential Press Service, Russian President Vladimir Putin addresses the nation in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022.