In his first speech to the nation since the onset of the war, Vladimir Putin declared a partial mobilization of the Russian Army. This new direction will order nearly 300,000 reservists and issue conscriptions for any citizen with prior military experience.
Although Mr.Putin and other top Russian officials remain determined to "liberate" the eastern regions of Ukraine, this declaration illustrates the difficulties Russian forces have faced during the war. The order for mobilization and referendums paints a picture of a desperate strategy on behalf of Russia to reinforce its combat units through forced conscription and annexation.
Mr.Putin stated during his speech, "Russia will use all the instruments at its disposal to counter a threat against its territorial integrity—this is not a bluff," a direct comment in response to the continuing supplying of western munitions to the Ukrainian Armed Forces. On top of outlining the goals of his "special military operation," Mr.Putin made vague threats toward western nations regarding the use of nuclear weapons. Mr.Putin had expressed that the United States had been committing "nuclear blackmail" for some time to belittle Russia and its decision to carry out the war.
"To those who allow themselves such statements about Russia, I want to remind you that our country also has various means of destruction, and some components are more modern than those of the NATO countries," a vague reference to Russia's nuclear capabilities.
During his speech, Mr.Putin also affirmed his support for those regions-Luhansk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Kherson- under Russian occupation to seek a referendum vote for inclusion into the Russian Federation. If these territories vote in the affirmative, any attack shall be deemed an invasion of Russia. Because NATO nations have supplied Ukraine, an attack will also be considered an attack by NATO upon Russia.
After the speech ended, Russian media sources reported a surge in one-way tickets out of the nation. Flights from Moscow to Turkey and Armenia, locations where Russians may enter without a visa, are completely sold out. The surge portrays the exodus of Russian citizens fearful of conscription. It also represents the attitude Russian citizens hold on the current war as the military cannot reach its goals and casualties surmount. Whether or not a total mobilization of Russia will take place may still be on the table for Mr.Putin to decide. As illustrated in the Russian parliaments cracking down on military punishments, it can be expected that travel restrictions may be imposed, barring military-aged males from fleeing the country.